Can I Get Divorced Without Going to Court?

  •   |   Meghan Freed

One of the questions we are most often asked by individuals thinking about a divorce is “Can I get divorced without going to court in Connecticut?”

As with many family law questions, the answer is: It Depends!

Read on to learn whether your situation will allow you to divorce without going to court.

Questions to Determine Whether You Can Get Divorced Without a Court Appearance

Whether you must appear in a CT family court depends on your answer to a few questions.

They are:

  • Does your divorce involve a protective order?
  • Have you and your spouse agree on all the issues in your divorce?
    • If so, are you eligible for a “fast-track” divorce, which we also call a “Non-Adversarial (Simplified) Divorce”?
    • Or is a divorce without a court appearance available for some other reason?

Below we will discuss how the answers to these questions impact your ability to avoid a court appearance in your divorce.

Do I Have to Attend Court for a Divorce with a Protective Order?

If a restraining or protective order is involved in your divorce, generally speaking, you’ll need a hearing to get divorced. However, you may be able to request that the hearing be remote or virtual instead of in-person.

Read: What are the Types of Restraining Orders?

Do We Have to Go to Divorce Court If We Reached an Agreement?

If you and your spouse agree on all the issues in your divorce, you are eligible for an uncontested divorce. That means you’ve got resolutions to:

There are two paths to avoid court and have a judge order your “divorce on the papers.” Both tracks provide two benefits. First, you do not need to wait 90 days to get divorced. Second, the judge can dissolve your marriage and grant your divorce without a court appearance.

The first path is the non-adversarial, simplified divorce process. This path has stringent requirements that not many people meet. Fortunately, many more people can access the second option.

Read: What Is an Uncontested Divorce in Connecticut?

Read: High Conflict vs. Low Conflict Divorce

Path 1 to No Court Divorce: Non-Adversarial (Simplified) Divorce

You won’t need to go before a judge to get divorced when you meet all the following requirements:

  1. Married nine years or less
  2. Neither you nor your spouse is pregnant
  3. No children
  4. No real property (land and real estate)
  5. All property owned is less than $80,000
  6. No defined benefit pension plan
  7. No pending bankruptcy proceedings
  8. No other divorce action pending
  9. No restraining or protective orders between you and your spouse

Although this path is stringent, if you meet all the criteria, you and your spouse can file a Joint Petition for Non-Adversarial Divorce. The court will grant your divorce without court.

Read: What Is a Non-Adversarial Divorce?

Path 2 to No Court Divorce: Request the Court Approve Your Final Agreement Without Court Appearance

Path 2 is available to many more people than Path 1. For example, you can have children, and there aren’t any income or asset limits. Generally speaking, when you’ve reached an entire agreement, we file a Request for Approval of Final Agreement Without Court Appearance and accompanying affidavits. If you aren’t beyond the 90-day waiting period, we may also file a Motion to Waive 90 Day Period.   If the court approves your requests, you will not have to appear in court to get divorced.

Do I Have to Go to Court if We Did Mediation or Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce and meditation aim to reach a full agreement on all issues. If so, many people follow “Path 2,” and the court finalizes their divorce without a court appearance.

Read: ADR & Divorce

Watch: How to Choose Your Divorce Approach: Litigation, Collaborative, Mediation

Must I Appear in Court If We Haven’t Reached a Full Agreement?

We call it a “contested” divorce when two spouses don’t resolve everything outside court. In a contested divorce, the judge decides on any unresolved issues at a formal hearing. This formal hearing is actually a divorce trial. Typically, divorce trials are held in person in court, but sometimes they are also virtual, remote hearings.

Read: What Is a Divorce Trial?

Next Steps

Unsure where your matter falls? We are happy to assist. Freed Marcroft’s first step, the Goals & Planning Conference, is designed to get to the heart of your problem and unveil your true goals for your life. Once we discover your goals, we take our collective experience in divorce to build a customized strategy for you. So schedule your Goals & Planning Conference today, or contact us either here or by phone.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC