Navigating Divorce in Litchfield County CT: A Comprehensive Guide
If you’re living in Litchfield County, CT, and considering a divorce, you’ve come to the right place. It’s essential to understand the legal rights and options available to you, which is why our team of knowledgeable Litchfield County put together this comprehensive guide to get you started. In this guide, we’ll explore the Connecticut divorce process, and provide you with valuable insights, tips, and resources to make your divorce as smooth as possible so that you can stay focused on your goals for your future. We cover everything from property division, child custody, support, spousal maintenance, and more. Whether you’re just starting to consider a divorce or have already begun, this guide will provide you with the information and support you need to make informed decisions and move forward.
Understanding the Litchfield County Divorce Process
The Connecticut divorce process can be complex and time-consuming. But, you have options to make it more streamlined. First, hire a lawyer to discuss your options before you pick an approach for your divorce. For example, alternatives like mediation and collaborative divorce may not only reduce conflict, but they can also help you avoid a drawn-out process. However, If you wind up in a traditional, litigated divorce, fear not. Most Litchfield County divorces, including traditional ones, resolve via an out-of-court settlement. This makes them uncontested divorces, as opposed to contested divorces, which proceed to a full divorce trial.
To begin a litigated divorce process, one spouse must file a complaint with the court, and the other spouse must respond to the complaint. In ADR processes in Connecticut, typically, the divorce process begins with trying to negotiate a settlement before formally initiating the divorce with the court.
During the divorce process, both parties must disclose all assets and debts. In divorce litigation, this is referred to as “discovery” and is a formal process. Information is also exchanged in mediation and collaborative divorces.
Litchfield Judicial District Court at Torrington
The Litchfield Judicial District Court is at 50 Field Street, Torrington, CT. It is the only family courthouse located in Litchfield County. The current Torrington courthouse replaced the former courthouse located in Litchfield in 2017. Since the state built the Torrington courthouse, divorce lawyers tend to refer to it as the Litchfield Family Court or the Torrington Family Court pretty much interchangeably.
This court handles all Litchfield County divorce cases. Here are a few key things to know about the Torrington Family Court.
- The courthouse is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- When you file for divorce in Litchfield County, you or your attorney must file your paperwork with the appropriate courthouse.
- It’s important to note that the Litchfield Judicial District Court is a court of equity, which means that the judge has the power to make decisions based on their view of what is fair under the circumstances.
Who Files Their Divorce in the Torrington Family Court
Barkhamsted, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Canaan, Colebrook, Cornwall, Goshen, Hartland, Harwinton, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, New Hartford, New Milford, Norfolk, North Canaan, Roxbury, Salisbury, Sharon, Thomaston, Torrington, Warren, Washington, and Winchester residents file divorces in the Torrington Divorce Court.
Those who reside in Watertown or Woodbury may file for divorce in either Litchfield at Torrington or in the judicial district of Waterbury.
Although Plymouth is located in Litchfield County, its residents do not file in the Putnam Family Court. They can file in either the New Britain Family Court or the Waterbury Family Court.
Hiring a Litchfield County Divorce Lawyer
You will want to hire a great divorce lawyer to stay focused on your future and have as smooth a divorce as possible. A top-notch divorce lawyer will help you navigate both the complex legal system and the critical decisions you need to make in your case. When choosing a Litchfield County attorney, find a team that dedicates its legal practice to Connecticut divorce and family law.
Litchfield County Divorce Statistics
According to the Census Reporter, in 2021, 10% of men and 12% of women living in Litchfield County were divorced. For men, this was higher than the Connecticut Statewide average.
It’s important to note that divorce statistics can vary yearly and may not necessarily indicate the overall divorce rate in Litchfield County.
Litchfield County Custody and Child Support
Connecticut courts prioritize the child’s best interests when making decisions about custody and support. Litchfield County judges court may consider several factors when determining what’s in the children’s best interests. Generally, Connecticut prefers joint custody over sole custody. This is a very case-specific topic, so it’s critical to speak with your divorce attorney about your family and get their insights and advice. In Connecticut, child support is calculated based on the income of both parents, the number of children, and the custody arrangement. More than anything, though, the court will want child support to be in the children’s best interests.
Property Division in Litchfield County CT
Property division is another significant issue in a divorce. Connecticut is an equitable distribution state, which means that assets and debts are divided fairly but not necessarily equally. The court will also consider several factors when making decisions about property division, including the marriage’s length, and both spouses’ age, health, and earning capacity.
In Litchfield County, property division can be particularly complicated because of the area’s high property values. Working with a lawyer with experience handling high net-worth divorce cases is preferable, and who can help you protect your assets.
Alimony and Spousal Support
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a payment that one spouse makes to the other spouse. There isn’t always an alimony award. Litchfield County judges consider several factors when determining spousal support, similar to the property division factors.
In Connecticut, spousal support can be temporary or permanent. Temporary support is generally awarded to help the lower-earning spouse transition to their new life after the divorce. Permanent support is awarded rarely. When it is, it tends to be in situations where the lower-earning spouse will never be able to support themselves adequately.
Common Mistakes to Avoid During Divorce in Litchfield County CT
Divorce can be a complicated and emotional process. People make several common mistakes during a divorce that can have long-lasting consequences. Some of these mistakes include:
- Rushing the process: Divorce is a significant life change, and taking the time to consider your options and make fully informed decisions is essential. You want it to be over, but you also want to get it right.
- Failing to consider the tax implications: Divorce can have significant tax implications, and it’s important to understand how your settlement will affect your taxes. Speak with your tax professional.
- Not working with a lawyer: We are so often hired after a divorce to try to “clean up.” What happened during it. Set yourself to make sound decisions the first time.
- Letting emotions guide decisions: Divorce is emotional as well as practical, but you want to make decisions based on logic and reason rather than emotion alone.
Self-Care During Divorce in Litchfield County CT
Divorce can be stressful and emotional, and taking care of yourself during the process is essential. Some tips for self-care during divorce include:
- Seeking support from friends and family
- Engaging in activities that bring you joy
- Seeking professional counseling
- Taking care of your physical health through exercise and a healthy diet
Read: Self-Care & Divorce
Litchfield County Divorce Resources
Many resources are available for people going through a divorce in Middlesex County, CT.