The 57-year-old is charged with strangulation and attempted murder. He was ordered held Thursday on $2 million bail.
His lawyer Eugene Riccio calls it "a tragic situation."
Farren was deputy White House counsel to Bush. He also worked on the campaign and transition for former President George H.W. Bush.
An arrest affidavit says the attack occurred after Mary Farren delivered divorce papers Monday.
Police say she passed out during the attack Wednesday night at their New Canaan home and later fled with her children.
She is stable at a hospital with a broken nose, broken jaw and other injuries.
Mary Farren is a Washington D.C. lawyer for Skadden, Arps. She works on energy regulation, according to the company's Web site.