Connecticut Works to Strengthen Domestic Violence Laws


Domestic violence is unfortunately a factor in many divorces. Connecticut families are fortunate though that the state has been and continues being a leader in the fight against domestic violence.  

Connecticut law defines family violence as:

an incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault between family or household members. Verbal abuse or argument shall not constitute family violence unless there is present danger and the likelihood that physical violence will occur.

Charges of domestic violence can affect divorce and custody proceedings, and domestic abuse can be grounds for a fault-based divorce in Connecticut. Fault can be considered by a court in determining alimony and division of property.

Connecticut courts may take charges of domestic abuse into account when determining child custody and visitation arrangements.

Proposed Domestic Violence Bill 5548 recently unanimously passed the Connecticut House of Representatives and is expected to be passed into law during this session of the Connecticut General Assembly.

The Bill gives family violence victims greater support from the courts, law enforcement agencies, and victim-service providers.

Following are some highlights of the new Domestic Violence Bill:

  • It extends the maximum period for a civil restraining order from six months to one year.
  • It makes stalking or patterns of threatening between family members a form of family violence.
  • At a victim's request, court clerks will be required to notify school and law enforcement officials about the terms of protective orders
  • It requires probation officers to notify police officers when they suspect someone has violated his or her terms of probation to also notify the crime victim if he or she has given contact information and the Connecticut Office of Victim Services.
  • It allows the Connecticut Office of Victim Services to award medical, psychiatric, psychological, social and rehabilitative services as restitution to children who witness domestic violence, including those not related to the victim.

If you’re considering a divorce in Connecticut, whether or not violence is involved, or if you’re interested in learning more about divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, or other alternatives to traditional divorce litigation, contact Connecticut divorce lawyer Lisa J. Cappalli, Esq.


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