Divorce in CT: What You Need to Know
Updated November 26, 2023
Avoiding overwhelm is key to a good divorce is avoiding overwhelm, and having the right information can makes all the difference. If you’re considering a divorce in CT, it’s essential to be aware of the legal process and your rights. From property division to child custody arrangements, there are a lot of moving parts. That’s where we come in. As a team of highly experienced and dedicated divorce lawyers and professionals, we’re here to help break down the essential things you need to know about Connecticut divorce.
In this article, we’ll cover everything from the grounds for divorce to the steps involved in the legal process. Whether you’re just starting to consider a divorce or are already in the midst of one, our goal is to provide you with the straightforward knowledge and resources you need to make informed decisions and confidently move forward. So, let’s dive in and explore what you need to know about divorce in CT.
Grounds for Divorce in CT
In Connecticut, there are both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. No-fault grounds for divorce are based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In other words, the marriage has broken down to the point where it cannot be repaired. This is Connecticut’s most common divorce ground. With no-fault divorce, Connecticut doesn’t require either spouse to prove any wrongdoing.
Fault-based grounds for divorce in Connecticut include adultery, fraud, willful desertion, habitual intemperance, intolerable cruelty, and imprisonment. If you seek a divorce based on fault grounds, you must provide evidence to support your claim.
Fault-based grounds for divorce may initially seem appealing to those feeling betrayed or abandoned by their spouse’s actions. However, it’s important to know that they can complicate and prolong the divorce process and make it more contentious. Plus, if you fail to prove the fault, the court cannot order the divorce, and you will remain married.
Filing for Divorce in CT
To file for divorce in Connecticut, the court must have jurisdiction over the divorce. In other words, you must meet Connecticut’s residency requirement. The most common way to accomplish this is that you or your spouse must have been a state resident for at least 12 months before your divorce becomes final. If you meet this requirement, you can file a complaint for divorce with the Connecticut Superior Court. The complaint should include information about the divorce grounds, and any children, alimony claims, and property.
You must also serve the other spouse with the divorce complaint. A state marshal generally completes service.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce in CT
In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree to the divorce terms, including property division, child custody, and support arrangements. There’s no trial in an uncontested divorce.
In a contested divorce, on the other hand, the spouses cannot agree on one or more issues related to the divorce. This can include property division, child custody, and support arrangements. Contested divorces can be much more complex and expensive, as they often require extensive trial preparation.
Connecticut is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning the court divides marital property fairly, but not necessarily equally, in a divorce. Marital property includes any property or assets acquired during the marriage. This is the case regardless of whose name is on the title or deed. This includes the family home, vehicles, retirement accounts, and pets.
In dividing property, the court will consider a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, and each spouse’s earning capacity. It’s important to note that Connecticut is also an “all property” state, which means that property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage or inherited or gifted to one spouse during the marriage is subject to division in a divorce. One caveat is that if the couple had an enforceable prenup, it could change and dictate how property division words.
Custody and Child Support
When it comes to child custody and child support in Connecticut divorces, the court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child. Connecticut law recognizes two types of custody: legal custody, which refers to the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, and physical custody, which refers to where the child lives when.
In most cases, the court will award joint legal custody, which means that both parents have an equal say in making significant decisions about the child’s health, education, and welfare. Similarly, CT courts most often award joint physical custody, and the child spends time with both parents under a parenting plan.
In addition to custody arrangements, child support is another important consideration in Connecticut divorces. We calculate child support based on a formula that considers each parent’s income, the number of children, and other factors. Often, the court orders both parents to contribute to the child’s unreimbursed medical, childcare, or educational expenses.
Read: What Is Child Support?
Read: CT Child Custody Laws
Alimony in CT Divorces
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is another important consideration in Connecticut divorces. It is a payment made by one spouse to the other to provide financial support after the divorce. The purpose of alimony is to ensure that both spouses can maintain their standard of living after the divorce to the extent possible.
Connecticut has several types of alimony, including temporary (pendente lite) alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and permanent (lifetime) alimony. Courts award temporary alimony during the divorce process to provide support during the divorce. Rehabilitative alimony is awarded for a specific period of time to allow the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient. On the other hand, permanent alimony is awarded for an indefinite period, typically in long-term marriages where the receiving spouse is unable to become self-sufficient due to age or disability or never worked outside the home.
The court considers a number of factors when deciding whether to award alimony, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s earning capacity, and each spouse’s financial needs.
Mediation and Collaborative Divorce in CT
While divorce trials can be high conflict and expensive, alternative dispute resolution methods are designed to help couples resolve their differences outside of court. Two common methods in Connecticut are mediation and collaborative divorce.
Mediation involves working with a neutral third party, a mediator, to agree on all the issues that must be decided in a divorce.
Collaborative divorce, on the other hand, involves each spouse hiring their own collaborative divorce attorney but agreeing to work together to stay out of court and resolve their divorce. Other members of the collaborative divorce team also support this goal.
Also Read: What Is Mediated Divorce?
Hiring a CT Divorce Lawyer
Finally, if you are considering a divorce in Connecticut, it’s important to hire an experienced divorce law firm to help guide you through the process. A skilled divorce lawyer can help you understand your rights and options, negotiate with your spouse or their attorney, and represent you in court if necessary.
When hiring a divorce lawyer in Connecticut, it’s important to look for a lawyer who focuses on family law and divorce cases and has a team behind them. You should also look for an attorney you feel comfortable working with, who tells it like it is and listens to your concerns and priorities.
If we can be of assistance, please reach out.