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Jennifer's Law | A closer look at Connecticut's new domestic violence law

The new law is a beacon of hope, but it comes concerns and anxiety from some on how it will be interpreted and applied.

Jenn Bernstein

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Published: 10:03 PM EST November 23, 2021
Updated: 10:41 PM EST November 23, 2021

Sarah* is a Simsbury mother of three who – amid an ongoing and difficult divorce that has been dragging for more than 18 months – has been trying to clear her name from a large amount of debt she says was created by her husband without her knowledge.

“Credit cards, savings accounts, checking accounts, in my name over the course of 20 years at seven or eight banking institutions," Sarah said. “I had over $230,000 of credit card debt in my name.”

Sarah is a victim of financial abuse at the hands of her estranged husband. She said she was dumbfounded when she discovered the accounts.

“It’s been very stressful; it’s been very stressful for my kids,” Sarah said.

With family court facing delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sarah – who has a law degree but was a stay-at-home mom during her marriage – said she’s stuck in limbo, with no credit score, still beholden financially to her estranged husband.

“I don’t have the ability, as a result of financial abuse and coerced debt, to go get a lease on a car," Sarah said.

There is a bill of hope for Sarah.

Jennifer’s Law went into effect on Oct. 1, 2021. Its intention is to help save lives by giving domestic abuse victims more tools to fight back against a controlling or dangerous relationship before it escalates to violence.

Sarah is one of the many women who hope they can now access protections in family court that weren’t there before.

*FOX61 News is not identifying Sarah due to the nature of the divorce proceedings.