What is an Uncontested Divorce in Connecticut?

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Updated December 10, 2023

It is critical to understand “what is an uncontested divorce in Connecticut?”

Too many people make decisions thinking an uncontested divorce is something it’s not.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce refers to cases when both spouses mutually agree to end their marriage and are able to resolve all related issues. This includes matters such as child custody, division of assets, and spousal support.

To have an uncontested divorce, both parties must be willing to work together to reach an agreement (or “settlement“) on all aspects of their separation. This requires open communication, compromise, and a commitment to resolving conflicts amicably. By avoiding the need for litigation, an uncontested divorce can save couples time, money, and unnecessary stress.  It also helps them retain control and privacy.

Read: Privacy During Divorce

Read: From Chaos to Control: How a God Divorce Lawyer Makes a Difference

There’s Actually No Such Thing as an Uncontested Divorce

In Connecticut, technically there’s actually no such thing as an “uncontested divorce” like what exists in some other states. In those states, right from the beginning, you initiate an “uncontested divorce” with the court. Then, it turns into a contested divorce if you and your spouse don’t reach an agreement on every issue.

Read:What Is a Divorce Trial?

What is an Uncontested Hearing?

What we do have here in Connecticut is an uncontested divorce hearing. When two spouses and their lawyers work out all the important issues in their divorce and reach a full settlement agreement, the court may hold a hearing. If so, at that hearing, the judge will review the agreement, and the spouses will answer a series of questions to ensure (1) that they understand the terms and consequences and (2) that they have not been forced to enter into the agreement. If all is in order, the judge finalizes the divorce at the uncontested hearing.

Read: What Is Non-Adversarial Divorce?

Read: Settlement & Divorce

Preparing for an Uncontested Divorce

Before filing for an uncontested divorce, there are several important steps you should take to prepare yourself for the process.

1. Educate yourself: Take the time to educate yourself about the divorce process. Read reputable resources like our divorce blog to gain a better understanding of what to expect. Familiarize yourself with the legal terminology to actively participate in the decision-making process when working with your divorce lawyer.

2. Gather necessary documents: Start gathering all the necessary documents related to your marriage, finances, and children. These include financial statements, tax returns, and bank statements. Having these organized and readily available will save you time and frustration down the line when your attorney requests them.

3. Consider your priorities: Before your lawyer starts negotiating with your spouse’s attorney, take some time to reflect on and review your priorities and goals. What matters most to you? A clear understanding of your priorities will help your lawyer focus on what matters most to you.

4. Explore alternative dispute resolution methods: Consider alternative dispute resolution (“ADR“) methods, such as divorce mediation or collaborative divorce. Talk to your attorney about whether these may be a good fit for you.  When appropriate, mediation in divorce can help facilitate productive discussions and assist in reaching mutually beneficial agreements.

5. Seek professional, experienced guidance: Work with a family law attorney who focuses on divorce and family law. They can provide you with legal advice, explain your rights and obligations, advocate for you in negotiations, and guide you through each step of the process. Additionally, a therapist can help you navigate the emotional challenges associated with divorce.

Taking these steps before filing for an uncontested divorce will help you feel more prepared and confident as you move forward.

Read: When Should You Hire a Divorce Attorney?

Who Qualifies?

Any divorce in Connecticut that results in a full final agreement is eligible for an uncontested hearing. A mediated divorce, a collaborative divorce, and even most litigated divorces all wind up in an uncontested hearing. The only divorces that don’t are divorces that go all the way to a divorce trial.  We call these contested divorces.

Above all, know that this is all very good news — just because there are disagreements at the beginning of the divorce doesn’t mean that you won’t ultimately reach an agreement and have an uncontested hearing.

Read: What’s the Difference Between a Hearing and a Trial?

Read: How to Have an Amicable Divorce

Uncontested Divorce Requirements

To pursue an uncontested divorce in Connecticut, you must meet certain requirements. Let’s take a look at some of these requirements:

1. Residency: Connecticut requires that either you or your spouse meet the residency requirements before filing for divorce. This typically means one of you has lived in the jurisdiction for a year.  Ask an experienced divorce attorney if you have any questions.

2. Agreement on all issues: As previously mentioned, both spouses must reach a comprehensive agreement on all relevant issues, including child custody, support, division of assets, and spousal support. This agreement must be in writing and is included in the legal filings with the court.

3. No fault: An uncontested divorce requires both parties to be in agreement and not contesting the divorce itself.  In other words, it can’t be a “fault” divorce, it must be a “no fault” divorce.  This means that neither spouse is disputing the grounds for divorce or seeking to reconcile the marriage. If there is any disagreement on the divorce itself, a contested divorce may be necessary.

4. Full financial disclosure: Both parties are required to provide full financial disclosure and file financial affidavits. This includes disclosing all assets, debts, income, and expenses. This information is crucial for ensuring a fair and equitable division of assets and determining appropriate support arrangements.

It’s important to consult with a family law attorney to understand the specific requirements for an uncontested divorce. They can guide you through the process and ensure you meet all necessary criteria.

Read: No-Fault Vs Fault Divorce

Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce

Opting for an uncontested divorce offers several advantages that can make the entire process smoother and more manageable for both parties involved. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key benefits:

1. Cost-effective: Compared to a contested divorce, which can involve extensive legal fees and court costs, an uncontested divorce is generally more cost-effective. By avoiding lengthy court battles and negotiations, couples can save significant legal fees and re-allocated them towards their future.

2. Time-efficient: An uncontested divorce can be finalized more quickly than a contested one. Since both spouses are in agreement on the terms of their separation, there is no need for lengthy court hearings or waiting for a judge’s decision. This allows couples to move forward with their lives sooner.

3. Reduced conflict: One of the most significant benefits of an uncontested divorce is the reduced level of conflict. By working together to reach mutual agreements, couples can maintain a more amicable relationship throughout the process, minimizing emotional stress and animosity. This is especially important when children are involved, as it creates a healthier environment for co-parenting.

4. Privacy: Unlike a contested divorce, which often involves public court proceedings, an uncontested divorce offers a greater level of privacy. By keeping the details of their separation between themselves and their legal representatives, couples can avoid unnecessary public exposure and maintain their confidentiality.

5. Flexibility & control: With an uncontested divorce, couples have more control over the outcome. They can tailor the terms of their agreement to suit their specific needs and circumstances. This level of flexibility allows for more personalized solutions and can result in a more satisfactory resolution for both parties.

Read:How to File for Divorce

Hiring an Attorney For an Uncontested Divorce

It’s crucial to consider the benefits of hiring an experienced family law attorney. Even in cases where both parties are in agreement, having the guidance and support of an attorney can be invaluable. Let’s explore the reasons why hiring an attorney is highly recommended:

1. Legal knowledge and skill: Family law is complex, and divorce practice varies throughout Connecticut.  Freed Marcroft’s divorce attorneys practice statewide and have the necessary legal experience and skill to navigate the process effectively. They will ensure that all necessary documents are correct, meet legal requirements, and that you understand them.

2. Mediation and negotiation assistance: If you and your spouse encounter any disagreements or challenges during the negotiation process, an attorney can provide valuable assistance. They can facilitate negotiations and help you come to a resolution. With their guidance, you can navigate any obstacles that may arise and work towards a mutually satisfactory agreement.

3. Avoiding costly mistakes: Divorce involves many financial, legal, and emotional considerations. Without the guidance of an attorney, you run the risk of making costly mistakes that could impact your future. An attorney’s experience will help you avoid potential pitfalls and move toward the best possible outcome.

4. Future protection: An attorney can help you anticipate and plan for future contingencies. They can draft comprehensive agreements, addressing potential issues that may arise down the road.   While they can’t predict the future, they’ve been down this road before and can flag common issues.

Common Misconceptions About Uncontested Divorces

There are several common misconceptions surrounding uncontested divorces. These misconceptions can prevent individuals from considering this option or lead to unrealistic expectations. Let’s address some of the most prevalent misconceptions:

1. Uncontested divorces are always quick and easy: While uncontested divorces generally proceed more smoothly than contested ones, they are not always quick and easy. The process can still take time, especially if there are complex financial or child custody issues that need to be resolved. It’s important to be patient and realistic about the timeline.

2. You don’t need an attorney for an uncontested divorce: While it is possible to handle an uncontested divorce without an attorney, it is highly recommended to seek legal advice. Their knowledge and experience can help prevent future complications and disputes.

3. Uncontested divorces are only for couples who get along: While it’s true that an uncontested divorce requires a certain level of cooperation and agreement between spouses, it doesn’t mean that they have to be on friendly terms. Many couples who have an uncontested divorce have disagreements and conflicts but are willing to put those differences aside to reach a resolution. With the help of professionals, even high-conflict couples can successfully navigate an uncontested divorce.

4. Uncontested divorces result in unfair settlements: Some people believe that opting for an uncontested divorce means they will receive an unfair settlement. However, this is not necessarily true. With the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney, you can be confident that you’ll understand your options.  The key is to approach the negotiation process with a clear understanding of your rights and priorities.

Now that you understand these misconceptions, you can make an informed decision about whether an uncontested divorce is the right option for you.

Next Steps

Uncontested divorce refers to a legal process where both spouses mutually agree to end their marriage and resolve all related issues, such as child custody, division of assets, and spousal support, without going to court. This alternative option offers a more amicable approach to divorce, compared to a contested divorce where disagreements are settled in court.

One of the key advantages of uncontested divorce is that it allows couples to maintain control over the outcome of their separation. Instead of leaving important decisions in the hands of a judge, spouses can work together to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that meets their individual needs and priorities. This collaborative approach can reduce conflict, promote open communication, and foster a more peaceful transition for both parties.

To learn more about uncontested hearings, check out this video with our Founding Attorney Meghan Freed.

Or, if you’re ready to start making a plan for your divorce, reach out. Our first step at Freed Marcroft, the Goals & Planning Conference, is designed to get to the heart of your problem and unveil your true goals. Once we discover your goals for your life, we are able to take our collective experience with the law, strategy, courts, judges, and other lawyers, and build a plan customized for you.

Our experienced lawyers are ready to help you. Schedule your Goals & Planning Conference today by contacting us here.


Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC