Step 3: Service of process
To make sure that the abuser knows about the temporary (ex parte) restraining order, if the court issued one, and about the hearing date, you will need to bring all of the papers that need to be served to a state marshal or any “proper officer” for delivery to the abuser. (The clerk or someone at a Court Service Center can explain to you who a “proper officer” is or you can get a list of the proper officers who can serve your papers from the clerk of the court or online from the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch website.) You can choose a state marshal from the towns in which the abuser lives or works and call the state marshal to make the arrangements to serve the papers. At some courthouses, a state marshal is at the courthouse at certain times during the day to help with service.1 If you want to call your local courthouse to find out which hours the state marshal will be there, see our CT Courthouse Locations page for a list of courthouse contact information.
The abuser must be served with the papers at least 3 days before the hearing date. If you include in your application that the respondent has a permit or eligibility certificate to carry a pistol or revolver, a long gun, ammunition, or that s/he possesses a firearm or ammunition, the proper officer who is responsible for serving the respondent should do all of the following:
- provide notice to law enforcement in the abuser’s town to let them know when and where service will take place;
- send law enforcement in the abuser’s town a copy of your application, affidavit, ex parte order, and the notice of hearing;
- request that a police officer from the law enforcement agency in the abuser’s town be present when the abuser is served.2
Remember that it may take multiple attempts to have him/her served. If you do not know where the abuser lives or cannot give enough information about how to find the abuser, the state marshal may not be able to find him/her to deliver the papers, so it is important to bring any and all identifying information that you have about the abuser to the state marshal.1
After the state marshal serves the abuser, s/he should give you back the original papers with a “return of service,” which tells the court when the officer served the papers on the abuser. According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch website, it is “recommended” that you bring these papers back to the clerk of the court at least two business days before the date of the hearing.1
Note: If you (or your minor child who is protected by the order) are enrolled in a public or private elementary or secondary school, technical school, or college, you can ask the clerk to send a copy of the order to your (or your child’s) school and to any special police force at the school. You will need to give the clerk the name and address of the school or college.2
You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?