Navigating Divorce in Fairfield County, CT: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating divorce in Fairfield County, CT can be especially complex. With its cost of living and fairly litigious default approach to family law, it’s important to have a comprehensive guide to help you through the process. Freed Marrcoft’s team of skilled family law attorneys have put together this comprehensive guide to help you prepare for a successful divorce in Fairfield County, CT. From finding the right attorney to understanding the legal process and dealing with the emotional fallout, this guide will provide you with the information and resources you need to make informed decisions and move forward with confidence. Whether you’re just starting the divorce process or are already deep in negotiations, we designed this guide to be an invaluable resource during your Fairfield County divorce.

Read: Understanding the Divorce Process: A Beginner’s Guide to a Smooth Transition

Understanding the Divorce Process in Fairfield County

The first step in navigating divorce in Fairfield County, CT, is to understand the legal process. Connecticut is a no-fault divorce state, which means that neither party needs to prove that the other party is at fault for the divorce. Instead, the court only needs to find that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.  Although it is still possible to file a fault divorce in Connecticut, don’t do so without consulting with an experienced divorce attorney first.  There are a lot of potential consequences to consider — including that even at the end of your divorce trial; it’s possible you will still be married.

Read: No Fault Divorce vs. Fault Divorce

Divorce Litigation Process

Lawyers initiate the divorce litigation process in Fairfield County by serving a complaint on your spouse and filing it with the appropriate Connecticut Family Court.  If the other party does not respond within the required timeframe, the court may enter a default judgment in favor of the spouse who filed.

Once the plaintiff files their complaint and the defendant files their answer, the next step is discovery. This is the process of exchanging information and documents related to the divorce. Discovery can include requests for documents, interrogatories, and depositions.

After discovery is complete, the parties may attempt to resolve their differences through negotiation. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the case will go to trial, and a judge makes a final decision.

Read: Uncontested Divorce vs. Contested Divorce

ADR Divorce Process

Note that this is the divorce process for a traditional litigated divorce, not for an alternative divorce process like mediation or collaborative divorce.  In those cases, we tend to hold off on filing the divorce with the court until the spouses are ready with a full agreement.  The exchange of documents is also much different in a mediation or collaborative divorce.  Instead of traditional discovery, there’s a cooperative approach including neutral, shared experts.

Read: ADR & Divorce

Fairfield County Family Courts

Fairfield County, CT, has three divorce courts.

They are:

All Fairfield County courts are open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.  Typically the doors open at 8:30 AM.  You can file your divorce in the courthouse for the town or city where either you or your spouse resides.  In many cases, you will have a choice of more than one court.  The experienced team of divorce attorneys at Freed Marcroft practice in all Fairfield County courthouses and can give you the pros and cons to consider with respect to each.

Danbury Family Court

Residents of Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, and Sherman file in the Danbury Family Court.

Learn more: Danbury Family Court

Bridgeport Family Court

Divorce lawyers often refer to the Fairfield Judicial District as “Bridgeport Family Court” because it’s located in Bridgeport.

People who live in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford, and Trumbull file in the Bridgeport Family Court.

Those in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport, and Wilton may file their divorce in either Bridgeport Divorce Court or at the Stamford-Norwalk Court.

Learn more: Bridgeport Family Court

Stamford Family Court

Although technically called the Stamford-Norwalk Judicial District, attorneys often shorten it to “Stamford Family Court.”

As we shared above, residents of Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport, and Wilton may select between Stamford Family Court or the Fairfield Judicial District Court located in Bridgeport when filing a divorce.

Learn More: Stamford-Norwalk Family Court

Finding the Right Divorce Lawyer

One of the most important decisions you’ll make during your divorce is choosing the right attorney. A good divorce will help you choose an approach to divorce and navigate the process.  They will also help you understand your rights and give you the information and options you need to make decisions in line with your goals.

Freed Marcroft’s divorce attorneys only practice family law, so they know the ins and outs of divorce in Fairfield County.

Read: When Should You Hire a Divorce Attorney?

Read: How Lawyers for Divorce Provide the Key to a Fresh Start

Freed Marcroft Divorce and Family Law Fairfield County Office

Freed Marcroft’s Fairfield County Family Law office is located in Westport, Connecticut.  We are also available for virtual appointments.

Freed Marcroft Fairfield County Office

1555 Post Rd East

Westport, CT 06880

Mediation vs. Litigation in Fairfield County Divorce Cases

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make during your divorce is whether to pursue mediation or litigation. Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party helps the parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Litigation is the traditional approach to litigation.  A litigated divorce proceeds within the court system, so by definition, it’s a more formal and adversarial process.  That said, even in Fairfield County, most traditional divorces do ultimately settle outside of court and don’t reach a full divorce trial where a judge decides.

Mediation can be a good option for couples who are willing to work together to compromise so that they can reach a settlement. That doesn’t mean they have to agree on everything or that reaching agreements is easy.  However, it allows the parties to maintain more control over the outcome of their case. Plus, mediation is generally less time-consuming than litigation.  Collaborative divorce is a third alternative that involves divorce attorneys with additional training in collaborative law, plus neutral experts the spouses share.

Read: What Is Mediation in Divorce?

Read: What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

Child Custody and Support

Custody and child support can be some of the most controversial issues in a divorce case. In Fairfield County, CT, custody is determined based on the child’s best interests. In determining what that is, Fairfield County judges consider factors such as the parents’ wishes with respect to custody and the child’s temperament and physical and emotional well-being.

Child support is determined based on the income of each parent and the needs of the child. Connecticut has a set of guidelines that are used to determine the amount of child support that should be paid.

Read: Connecticut Child Custody Laws

Read: How Does Child Support Work in Connecticut?

Property Division

Another important issue in a divorce case is property division. In Fairfield County, CT, courts divide property based on the principle of equitable distribution. This means that property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally.

During the property division process, the court considers factors such as the length of the marriage and the spouses’ age, health, and employability. It’s also critical to note that Connecticut is somewhat unusual in the sense that inheritances or property owned before the marriage may also be subject to division by courts.

Download: The Comprehensive Connecticut Property Division Guide


Fairfield County courts award alimony, also known as spousal support, in some divorce cases. Alimony is intended to help financially support the lower-earning spouse. The court determines the amount and duration of alimony based on factors including the age, health, and earning potential of the spouses.

Download: The Comprehensive Connecticut Alimony Guide

Navigating the Emotional Aspects of Divorce in Fairfield County, CT

Divorce is an emotional process that can be difficult to navigate. It’s important to take care of yourself during this time and to seek the support you need to get through it. Consider seeking the help of a therapist or support group to help you deal with the emotional fallout of your divorce.

Read: Personal Growth & Divorce

Read: Deciding Whether to Divorce: Understanding and Managing Your Emotions

Fairfield County Divorce Statistics

According to the Census Reporter, in 2021, 7% of men and 11% of women living in Fairfield County were divorced.  This was a little lower than the average across Connecticut.

It’s important to note that divorce statistics can vary from year to year and may not necessarily be indicative of the overall divorce rate in Fairfield County.

Resources for Support During Divorce in Fairfield County, CT

There are many resources available to help you during your Fairfield County. Consider contacting a local divorce support group or seeking the help of a therapist. You may also want to consult with a financial planner or accountant to help you understand the financial implications of your divorce.

Here are some additional support resources:

Next Steps

Navigating divorce in Fairfield County can be complex, but with the right information and resources, you can successfully move through the process. Remember to take care of yourself and seek the support you need during this difficult time. By following the guidance in this guide, you will be better prepared to make informed decisions and move forward with confidence.

If you’d like to discuss working with Freed Marcroft’s family law attorneys, please contact us.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC