As of the end of June, new legislation has been signed into law changing the rules pertaining to family law and domestic violence in Connecticut, with the passage of Public Act No. 21-78, “Jennifer’s Law.” Our own David McGrath wrote a summary of the law for the Connecticut Law Tribune, published today.
Under the new law, named in honor of Jennifer Magnano and Jennifer Dulos, the definition of domestic violence has been substantially broadened to include a wide range of behaviors the constitute “coercive control” over another individual, including efforts to isolate or deprive of free will or personal liberty, and, among other things, threats or use of “revenge porn.” The criteria for care and custody of minor children have also been amended to include the “physical and emotional safety of the child” and the existence and effect of any domestic violence. The law also requires the family court to sanction any party that it finds has engaged in “a pattern of frivolous and intentionally fabricated pleadings or motions” to avoid undue delay or obstruction. Most of the changes in the law are effective October 1. We will be carefully monitoring how the changes are interpreted by the family court as the law’s effects unfold. The final text of the law is available in full at: Public Act No. 21-78.
Staying informed about changes to family law in Connecticut is an important part of our commitment to doing all that we reasonably can to help our clients emerge positively from the divorce process. If you or someone you know is interested in discussing divorce options, please reach out.