CHAPTER 815e
MARRIAGE

Table of Contents

Sec. 46b-22. (Formerly Sec. 46-3). Who may join persons in marriage. Penalty for unauthorized performance.
Sec. 46b-24. (Formerly Sec. 46-5a). License. Period of validity. Penalty for solemnization without license. Validity of marriage ceremony.
Sec. 46b-36g. Enforcement of premarital agreement.
Sec. 46b-38b. Investigation of family violence crime by peace officer. Arrest. Assistance to victim. Guidelines. Education and training program.
Sec. 46b-38c. Family violence response and intervention units. Local units. Duties and functions. Protective orders. Pretrial family violence education program.

      Sec. 46b-22. (Formerly Sec. 46-3). Who may join persons in marriage. Penalty for unauthorized performance. (a) Persons authorized to solemnize marriages in this state include (1) all judges and retired judges, either elected or appointed, including federal judges and judges of other states who may legally join persons in marriage in their jurisdictions, (2) family support magistrates, state referees and justices of the peace who are appointed in Connecticut, and (3) all ordained or licensed members of the clergy, belonging to this state or any other state, as long as they continue in the work of the ministry. All marriages solemnized according to the forms and usages of any religious denomination in this state, including marriages witnessed by a duly constituted Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is, are valid. All marriages attempted to be celebrated by any other person are void.

      (b) No public official legally authorized to issue marriage licenses may join persons in marriage under authority of a license issued by himself, or his assistant or deputy; nor may any such assistant or deputy join persons in marriage under authority of a license issued by such public official.

      (c) Any person violating any provision of this section shall be fined not more than fifty dollars.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7306; 1951, S. 3001d; 1967, P.A. 129, S. 1; P.A. 78-230, S. 4, 54; P.A. 79-37, S. 1, 2; P.A. 87-316, S. 3; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-4, S. 27, 58; P.A. 06-196, S. 276; P.A. 07-79, S. 5.)

      History: 1967 act specified validity of marriages witnessed by Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is; P.A. 78-230 divided section into Subsecs., deleted reference to county and reordered and rephrased provisions in Subsec. (a) and substituted "may" for "shall" in Subsec. (b); P.A. 79-37 authorized retired judges and state referees to perform marriages; Sec. 46-3 transferred to Sec. 46b-22 in 1979; P.A. 87-316 applied provisions to family support magistrates; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-4 amended Subsec. (a) by adding provision re federal judges and judges of other states who may legally join persons in marriage in their jurisdictions, effective July 1, 2001; P.A. 06-196 made a technical change in Subsec. (a), effective June 7, 2006; P.A. 07-79 amended Subsec. (a) to add Subdiv. designators (1) to (3), revise provisions re persons authorized to solemnize marriages within the state and make technical changes.

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      Sec. 46b-24. (Formerly Sec. 46-5a). License. Period of validity. Penalty for solemnization without license. Validity of marriage ceremony. (a) No persons may be joined in marriage in this state until both have complied with the provisions of sections 46b-24, 46b-25 and 46b-29 to 46b-33, inclusive, and have been issued a license by the registrar for the town in which (1) the marriage is to be celebrated, or (2) either person to be joined in marriage resides, which license shall bear the certification of the registrar that the persons named therein have complied with the provisions of said sections.

      (b) Such license, when certified by the registrar, is sufficient authority for any person authorized to perform a marriage ceremony in this state to join such persons in marriage, provided the ceremony is performed within a period of not more than sixty-five days after the date of application.

      (c) Anyone who joins any persons in marriage without having received such license from them shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars.

      (d) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, in order to be valid in this state, a marriage ceremony shall be conducted by and in the physical presence of a person who is authorized to solemnize marriages.

      (1967, P.A. 313, S. 1; P.A. 78-230, S. 5, 54; P.A. 03-188, S. 3; P.A. 07-79, S. 6.)

      History: P.A. 78-230 divided section into Subsecs. and made minor changes in wording and added fine provision applicable to those who marry persons without receiving license, designated as Subsec. (c); Sec. 46-5a transferred to Sec. 46b-24 in 1979 and internal section references changed as necessary to reflect those sections' transfer; P.A. 03-188 amended Subsec. (a) by authorizing a registrar for a town to issue a marriage license when either person to be married is a resident of such town, deleting reference to repealed Secs. 46b-26 and 46b-27, adding reference to Sec. 46b-25 and making technical changes, and amended Subsec. (b) by deleting provision that required marriage ceremony take place "within the town where the license was issued"; P.A. 07-79 added Subsec. (d) to require marriage ceremonies to be conducted by and in the physical presence of a person authorized to solemnize marriages.

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      Sec. 46b-36g. Enforcement of premarital agreement.

      Subsec. (a):

      Presentation of draft of prenuptial agreement one week before wedding is not sufficient to show lack of opportunity of adequate financial disclosure by defendant, where defendant informed plaintiff two months before the wedding that defendant wanted a prenuptial agreement. 281 C. 166. Demonstration of reasonable opportunity to consult with legal counsel under section only requires opportunity for consultation, consistent with interpretation of identical statutory language. Id.


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      Sec. 46b-38b. Investigation of family violence crime by peace officer. Arrest. Assistance to victim. Guidelines. Education and training program. (a) Whenever a peace officer determines upon speedy information that a family violence crime, except a family violence crime involving a dating relationship, has been committed within such officer's jurisdiction, such officer shall arrest the person or persons suspected of its commission and charge such person or persons with the appropriate crime. The decision to arrest and charge shall not (1) be dependent on the specific consent of the victim, (2) consider the relationship of the parties, or (3) be based solely on a request by the victim. Whenever a peace officer determines that a family violence crime has been committed, such officer may seize any firearm or electronic defense weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, at the location where the crime is alleged to have been committed that is in the possession of any person arrested for the commission of such crime or suspected of its commission or that is in plain view. Not later than seven days after any such seizure, the law enforcement agency shall return such firearm or electronic defense weapon in its original condition to the rightful owner thereof unless such person is ineligible to possess such firearm or electronic defense weapon or unless otherwise ordered by the court.

      (b) No peace officer investigating an incident of family violence shall threaten, suggest or otherwise indicate the arrest of all parties for the purpose of discouraging requests for law enforcement intervention by any party. Where complaints are made by two or more opposing parties, the officer shall evaluate each complaint separately to determine whether such officer should make an arrest or seek a warrant for an arrest. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, when a peace officer reasonably believes that a party in an incident of family violence has used force as a means of self defense, such officer is not required to arrest such party under this section.

      (c) No peace officer shall be held liable in any civil action regarding personal injury or injury to property brought by any party to a family violence incident for an arrest based on probable cause or for any conditions of release imposed pursuant to subsection (b) of section 54-63c.

      (d) It shall be the responsibility of the peace officer at the scene of a family violence incident to provide immediate assistance to the victim. Such assistance shall include, but not be limited to: (1) Assisting the victim to obtain medical treatment if such treatment is required; (2) notifying the victim of the right to file an affidavit or warrant for arrest; and (3) informing the victim of services available and referring the victim to the Office of Victim Services. In cases where the officer has determined that no cause exists for an arrest, assistance shall include: (A) Assistance as provided in subdivisions (1) to (3), inclusive, of this subsection; and (B) remaining at the scene for a reasonable time until, in the reasonable judgment of the officer, the likelihood of further imminent violence has been eliminated.

      (e) Each law enforcement agency shall develop, in conjunction with the Division of Criminal Justice, and implement specific operational guidelines for arrest policies in family violence incidents. Such guidelines shall include, but not be limited to: (1) Procedures for the conduct of a criminal investigation; (2) procedures for arrest and for victim assistance by peace officers; (3) education as to what constitutes speedy information in a family violence incident; (4) procedures with respect to the provision of services to victims; and (5) such other criteria or guidelines as may be applicable to carry out the purposes of sections 46b-1, 46b-15, 46b-38a to 46b-38f, inclusive, and 54-1g. Such procedures shall be duly promulgated by such law enforcement agency.

      (f) The Police Officer Standards and Training Council, in conjunction with the Division of Criminal Justice, shall establish an education and training program for law enforcement officers, supervisors and state's attorneys on the handling of family violence incidents. Training under such program shall: (1) Stress the enforcement of criminal law in family violence cases and the use of community resources, and include training for peace officers at both recruit and in-service levels; and (2) include, but not be limited to: (A) The nature, extent and causes of family violence; (B) legal rights of and remedies available to victims of family violence and persons accused of family violence; (C) services and facilities available to victims and batterers; (D) legal duties imposed on police officers to make arrests and to offer protection and assistance; and (E) techniques for handling incidents of family violence that minimize the likelihood of injury to the officer and promote the safety of the victim.

      (P.A. 86-337, S. 2; P.A. 87-554; 87-567, S. 2, 7; 87-589, S. 13, 87; P.A. 95-108, S. 15; P.A. 96-246, S. 32; P.A. 99-186, S. 3; P.A. 00-196, S. 58; P.A. 02-120, S. 1; P.A. 04-66, S. 1; P.A. 07-123, S. 2, 7.)

      History: P.A. 87-554 substituted commission on victim services for criminal injuries compensation board; P.A. 87-567 added "as defined in subdivision (3) of section 46b-38a" after "family violence crime" and deleted former provision of Subsec. (e) re release of person arrested in family violence case; P.A. 87-589 made technical change in Subsec. (d); P.A. 95-108 amended Subsec. (f) to rename Municipal Police Training Council as Police Officer Standards and Training Council; P.A. 96-246 amended Subsec. (e) by deleting references to Subsec. (e) of Sec. 17a-101 and Sec. 17a-107; P.A. 99-186 amended Subsec. (a) to exclude a family violence crime involving a dating relationship from provision requiring peace officer to make an arrest when a family violence crime has been committed, to add provision authorizing a peace officer to seize any firearm in possession of any person or in plain view at the crime scene, to add provision requiring the law enforcement agency to return any such seized firearm in its original condition to the rightful owner within 48 hours unless the person is ineligible to possess such firearm or unless otherwise ordered by the court, and to make technical changes for purposes of gender neutrality; P.A. 00-196 changed reference to "Commission on" to "Office of" Victim Services in Subsec. (d); P.A. 02-120 amended Subsec. (a) to make a technical change, to authorize seizure of a firearm whenever a peace officer "determines that a family violence crime has been committed" rather than whenever the officer "makes an arrest under this subsection", to authorize seizure of a firearm that is in the possession of any person suspected of the commission of a family violence crime and to extend from 48 hours to 7 days the time period after seizure for the law enforcement agency to return the firearm to its rightful owner; P.A. 04-66 amended Subsec. (b) by replacing "received from" with "made by", replacing "he should seek a warrant" with "such officer should make an arrest or seek a warrant" and adding provision re use of force as means of self defense and made technical changes in Subsecs. (a), (d), (e) and (f); P.A. 07-123 amended Subsec. (a) to make provisions re seizure and return of a firearm applicable to an electronic defense weapon and amended Subsec. (c) to provide that a peace officer shall not be held liable for any conditions of release imposed pursuant to Sec. 54-63c(b).

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      Sec. 46b-38c. Family violence response and intervention units. Local units. Duties and functions. Protective orders. Pretrial family violence education program. (a) There shall be family violence response and intervention units in the Connecticut judicial system to respond to cases involving family violence. The units shall be coordinated and governed by formal agreement between the Chief State's Attorney and the Judicial Department.

      (b) The Court Support Services Division, in accordance with the agreement between the Chief State's Attorney and the Judicial Department, shall establish within each geographical area of the Superior Court a local family violence intervention unit to implement sections 46b-1, 46b-15, 46b-38a to 46b-38f, inclusive, and 54-1g. The Court Support Services Division shall oversee direct operations of the local units.

      (c) Each such local family violence intervention unit shall: (1) Accept referrals of family violence cases from a judge or prosecutor, (2) prepare written or oral reports on each case for the court by the next court date to be presented at any time during the court session on that date, (3) provide or arrange for services to victims and offenders, (4) administer contracts to carry out such services, and (5) establish centralized reporting procedures. All information provided to a family relations officer in a local family violence intervention unit shall be solely for the purposes of preparation of the report and the protective order forms for each case and recommendation of services and shall otherwise be confidential and retained in the files of such unit and not be subject to subpoena or other court process for use in any other proceeding or for any other purpose, except that if the victim has indicated that the defendant holds a permit to carry a pistol or revolver or possesses one or more firearms, the family relations officer shall disclose such information to the court and the prosecuting authority for appropriate action.

      (d) In all cases of family violence, a written or oral report and recommendation of the local family violence intervention unit shall be available to a judge at the first court date appearance to be presented at any time during the court session on that date. A judge of the Superior Court may consider and impose the following conditions to protect the parties, including, but not limited to: (1) Issuance of a protective order pursuant to subsection (e) of this section; (2) prohibition against subjecting the victim to further violence; (3) referral to a family violence education program for batterers; and (4) immediate referral for more extensive case assessment. Such protective order shall be an order of the court, and the clerk of the court shall cause (A) a certified copy of such order to be sent to the victim, and (B) a copy of such order, or the information contained in such order, to be sent by facsimile or other means within forty-eight hours of its issuance to the law enforcement agency for the town in which the victim resides and, if the defendant resides in a town different from the town in which the victim resides, to the law enforcement agency for the town in which the defendant resides. If the victim is employed in a town different from the town in which the victim resides, the clerk of the court shall, upon the request of the victim, send, by facsimile or other means, a copy of such order, or the information contained in such order, to the law enforcement agency for the town in which the victim is employed within forty-eight hours of the issuance of such order.

      (e) A protective order issued under this section may include provisions necessary to protect the victim from threats, harassment, injury or intimidation by the defendant, including, but not limited to, an order enjoining the defendant from (1) imposing any restraint upon the person or liberty of the victim, (2) threatening, harassing, assaulting, molesting or sexually assaulting the victim, or (3) entering the family dwelling or the dwelling of the victim. A protective order issued under this section may include provisions necessary to protect any animal owned or kept by the victim including, but not limited to, an order enjoining the defendant from injuring or threatening to injure such animal. Such order shall be made a condition of the bail or release of the defendant and shall contain the following language: "In accordance with section 53a-223 of the Connecticut general statutes, any violation of this order constitutes criminal violation of a protective order which is punishable by a term of imprisonment of not more than five years, a fine of not more than five thousand dollars, or both. Additionally, in accordance with section 53a-107 of the Connecticut general statutes, entering or remaining in a building or any other premises in violation of this order constitutes criminal trespass in the first degree which is punishable by a term of imprisonment of not more than one year, a fine of not more than two thousand dollars, or both. Violation of this order also violates a condition of your bail or release, and may result in raising the amount of bail or revoking release." Every order of the court made in accordance with this section after notice and hearing shall also contain the following language: "This court had jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter when it issued this protection order. Respondent was afforded both notice and opportunity to be heard in the hearing that gave rise to this order. Pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 18 USC 2265, this order is valid and enforceable in all fifty states, any territory or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and tribal lands." The information contained in and concerning the issuance of any protective order issued under this section shall be entered in the registry of protective orders pursuant to section 51-5c.

      (f) In cases referred to the local family violence intervention unit, it shall be the function of the unit to (1) identify victim service needs and, by contract with victim service providers, make available appropriate services and (2) identify appropriate offender services and where possible, by contract, provide treatment programs for offenders.

      (g) There shall be a pretrial family violence education program for persons who are charged with family violence crimes. The court may, in its discretion, invoke such program on motion of the defendant when it finds: (1) That the defendant has not previously been convicted of a family violence crime which occurred on or after October 1, 1986; (2) the defendant has not had a previous case assigned to the family violence education program; (3) the defendant has not previously invoked or accepted accelerated rehabilitation under section 54-56e for a family violence crime which occurred on or after October 1, 1986; and (4) that the defendant is not charged with a class A, class B or class C felony, or an unclassified felony carrying a term of imprisonment of more than ten years, or unless good cause is shown, a class D felony or an unclassified offense carrying a term of imprisonment of more than five years. Participation by any person in the accelerated pretrial rehabilitation program under section 54-56e prior to October 1, 1986, shall not prohibit eligibility of such person for the pretrial family violence education program under this section. The court may require that the defendant answer such questions under oath, in open court or before any person designated by the clerk and duly authorized to administer oaths, under the penalties of perjury as will assist the court in making these findings. The court, on such motion, may refer the defendant to the family violence intervention unit, and may continue his case pending the submission of the report of the unit to the court. The court shall also give notice to the victim or victims that the defendant has requested assignment to the family violence education program, and, where possible, give the victim or victims opportunity to be heard. Any defendant who accepts placement in the family violence education program shall agree to the tolling of any statute of limitations with respect to the crime or crimes with which he is charged, and to a waiver of his right to a speedy trial. Any such defendant shall appear in court and shall be released to the custody of the family violence intervention unit for such period, not exceeding two years, and under such conditions as the court shall order. If the defendant refuses to accept, or, having accepted, violates such conditions, his case shall be brought to trial. If the defendant satisfactorily completes the family violence education program and complies with the conditions imposed for the period set by the court, he may apply for dismissal of the charges against him and the court, on finding satisfactory compliance, shall dismiss such charges. Upon dismissal all records of such charges shall be erased pursuant to section 54-142a.

      (h) A fee of two hundred dollars shall be paid to the court by any person who enters the family violence education program, except that no person shall be excluded from such program for inability to pay the fee, provided (1) the person files with the court an affidavit of indigency or inability to pay and (2) the court enters a finding thereof. All such fees shall be credited to the General Fund.

      (i) The Judicial Department shall establish an ongoing training program for judges, Court Support Services Division personnel and clerks to inform them about the policies and procedures of sections 46b-1, 46b-15, 46b-38a to 46b-38f, inclusive, and 54-1g, including, but not limited to, the function of the family violence intervention units and the use of restraining and protective orders.

      (P.A. 86-337, S. 3; P.A. 87-567, S. 3, 7; P.A. 89-219, S. 1, 10; P.A. 91-6, S. 2, 3; 91-24, S. 3; 91-381, S. 4; P.A. 93-280, S. 2; 93-343; P.A. 96-180, S. 125, 166; 96-246, S. 33, 34; P.A. 97-126, S. 2; P.A. 01-130, S. 13; P.A. 02-132, S. 13, 14, 55; P.A. 03-202, S. 5; P.A. 05-288, S. 157; P.A. 06-196, S. 170; P.A. 07-78, S. 2.)

      History: P.A. 87-567 amended Subsec. (c) by adding "to be presented at any time during the court session on that date" and provision re confidentiality of information provided to family relations officer; amended Subsec. (d) by adding "to be presented at any time during the court session on that date"; and amended Subsec. (g) by changing $200 fee to $50 fee; P.A. 89-219 amended Subsec. (g) by increasing the fee to $100; P.A. 91-6 deleted Subsec. (c)(5) re provision of monitoring systems for all restraining and protective orders; P.A. 91-24 amended Subsec. (f) to authorize the court to require the defendant to answer questions under oath "before any person designated by the clerk and duly authorized to administer oaths"; P.A. 91-381 amended Subsec. (d) by adding "pursuant to subsection (e)" after "protective order" and inserted new Subsec. (e) re provisions of protective order, including specific language required to be contained in such order and requiring that order be made a condition of bail or release of defendant, relettering remaining Subsecs. as necessary; P.A. 93-280 amended Subsec. (h) by increasing the fee for person entering family violence education program from $100 to $200; P.A. 93-343 amended Subsec. (e) by adding provision re establishment of twenty-four-hour registry of protective orders on the Connecticut on-line law enforcement communications teleprocessing system; P.A. 96-180 made technical change in Subsec. (e) by changing fine from $1,000 to $2,000 in accordance with P.A. 92-256, effective June 3, 1996; P.A. 96-246 amended Subsecs. (b) and (i) by deleting references to Sec. 17a-101(e) and Sec. 17a-107; P.A. 97-126 amended Subsec. (e) by adding required language in protective order re jurisdiction, notice and hearing, and validity and enforceability of order; P.A. 01-130 amended Subsec. (c) to add exception to the requirement that information provided to the family relations officer remain confidential by providing that if the victim has indicated that the defendant holds a permit to carry a pistol or revolver or possesses one or more firearms the family relations officer shall disclose such information to the court and the prosecuting authority and amended Subsec. (d) to make a technical change, to reposition language re nature and distribution of a protective order and to replace the requirement that the clerk send a certified copy of the order to the "appropriate law enforcement agency" with requirement that the clerk send a copy of the order to the law enforcement agency for the town in which the victim resides, to the law enforcement agency for the town in which the respondent resides if different than the town in which the victim resides and, if requested by the victim, to the law enforcement agency for the town in which the victim is employed if different than the town in which the victim resides; P.A. 02-132 amended Subsec. (b) by replacing "Family Relations Division of the Superior Court" and "Family Relations Division" with "Court Support Services Division", effective October 1, 2002, amended Subsec. (c) by adding provisions re preparation of protective order forms and disclosure of information for appropriate action and making technical changes, amended Subsec. (d) by replacing provisions re sending certified copy of order to law enforcement agency with provisions re sending copy of or information contained in order to law enforcement agency by facsimile or other means and making technical changes and amended Subsec. (e) by deleting provisions re Department of Public Safety registry of protective orders, adding provisions re entry of information into registry of protective orders pursuant to Sec. 51-5c and making technical changes, effective January 1, 2003, and amended Subsec. (i) by replacing "Family Division personnel" with "Court Support Services Division personnel", deleting reference to bail commissioners and making a technical change, effective October 1, 2002; P.A. 03-202 amended Subsec. (e) by revising language required to be contained in protective order to specify five-year term of imprisonment and $5,000 fine for criminal violation of a protective order and make a conforming change; P.A. 05-288 made technical changes in Subsec. (e), effective July 13, 2005; P.A. 06-196 made technical changes in Subsec. (d), effective June 7, 2006; P.A. 07-78 amended Subsec. (e) by adding provision authorizing protective order to include provisions necessary to protect any animal owned or kept by the victim.

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