Connecticut state has its own unique set of divorce laws, which can be complex and nuanced. Understanding these laws is crucial for anyone going through a divorce in CT.
If you are getting into a divorce in Connecticut, it is beneficial to be knowledgeable about the divorce laws. Whether you decide to hire an CT family attorney or handle the divorce yourself, you will need to make important decisions and should be aware of what to anticipate.
The courts in CT will consider various factors in the divorce settlement, including property division, CT alimony, and child custody and support. Connecticut is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally.
In this article, we will take a comprehensive dive into everything you need to know about Connecticut divorce laws and guidelines, so you make your best decision while you move along.
Types of Divorce in CT
In Connecticut, there are two types of divorce options available:
1. No-Fault Divorce: In a no-fault divorce, either spouse can file for divorce without providing any reason for the dissolution of the marriage. The only requirement is that the marriage has been irretrievably broken for at least six months. This type of divorce is usually less contentious and can be less time-consuming and less expensive than a fault-based divorce.
2. Fault-Based Divorce: In a fault-based divorce, one spouse must prove that the other has engaged in specific misconduct that has caused the breakdown of the marriage. The grounds for a fault-based divorce in Connecticut include adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, imprisonment, and living apart pursuant to a separation agreement or judgment of separation. A fault-based divorce can be more contentious and may take longer to resolve than a no-fault divorce.
It’s worth noting that Connecticut also offers a “legal separation,” which is not technically a divorce, but allows a couple to live apart and divide their assets and debts without officially dissolving their marriage.
Uncontested Divorce in CT
To file for an uncontested divorce in Connecticut, both spouses must agree on all aspects of the divorce, such as division of assets, spousal support, child custody, and child support.
The spouses must submit a signed separation agreement, which the CT court will review. If approved, the spouses will attend a final hearing, where a judge will ensure that both parties understand and agree to the terms. If satisfied, the family court judge will issue a final divorce decree.
Divorce rate in Connecticut
The divorce rate in Connecticut is relatively low compared to other states in the US. According to data from the US Census Bureau, the divorce rate in Connecticut was 8.7 divorces per 1,000 married individuals in 2019. This is lower than the national average divorce rate of 15 divorces per 1,000 married individuals.
The decline in the divorce rate in Connecticut can be attributed to several factors, including the state’s high median income, which can reduce financial stress on marriages, and the state’s relatively high educational attainment levels, which can also contribute to greater stability in marriages.
Additionally, Connecticut has a relatively low poverty rate and a high percentage of adults who are employed, which can also reduce stress and strain on marriages.
How to File for Divorce in CT
Divorce Process in Connecticut
The following are the steps to file for divorce in Connecticut:
- Determine your eligibility: In Connecticut, you must be a resident of the state for at least 12 months before you can file for divorce.
- Choose your grounds for divorce: You can file for a no-fault divorce based on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or a fault-based divorce on various grounds, including adultery, intolerable cruelty, fraud, desertion, and habitual drunkenness.
- File a summons and complaint: You must file a summons and complaint with the Superior Court of the county where you or your spouse lives. You will need to pay a filing fee when you submit these documents.
- Serve your spouse: You must serve your spouse with a copy of the summons and complaint, which can be done by a professional process server, a sheriff, or by certified mail.
- Wait for a response: Your spouse has 35 days to respond to the summons and complaint. If they do not respond, you may be able to obtain a default judgment.
- Negotiate a settlement: If both parties agree, you can negotiate a settlement agreement that covers issues such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.
- Attend a hearing: If you cannot reach an agreement, you may have to attend a hearing where a judge will make decisions on these issues.
- Finalize the divorce: Once a settlement agreement has been reached or a judge has made decisions, you will need to file a final divorce decree with the court to officially dissolve the marriage.
Online Divorce in Connecticut
In Connecticut, it is possible to file for an online divorce, which is also known as an “uncontested divorce.” You can read our comprehebsive guide about online divorce here.
Cost of Divorce in Connecticut
In the state of Connecticut, the cost of divorce can vary depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case, the amount of assets and debts involved, and the level of conflict between the parties.
In Connecticut, there are two types of divorce: uncontested and contested. An uncontested divorce is generally less expensive, as both parties have agreed on the terms of the divorce and there is no need for a trial. However, even in an uncontested divorce, there are still fees associated with filing for divorce, serving papers, and other legal costs.
On the other hand, a contested divorce can be much more expensive. If the parties cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, they may need to go to trial, which can be a lengthy and costly process. In addition to legal fees, the parties may also need to pay for expert witnesses, such as accountants or appraisers, to assist in the valuation of assets and property.
Overall, it can range from a few thousand dollars for an uncontested divorce to tens of thousands of dollars or more for a highly contested divorce.
Divorce Papers and Forms CT
Connecticut requires various forms and papers to be filed in order to initiate and complete a divorce. These papers and forms can vary depending on the circumstances of the divorce, such as whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, whether children are involved, and the assets and debts of the couple.
Some of the most common forms required in an Connecticut State divorce include a Summons with Notice or Summons and Complaint, a Verified Complaint, Affidavit of Service, and a Judgment of Divorce.
Grounds for Divorce in CT
In Connecticut, divorce is a legal process that ends a marriage. While the decision to divorce can be difficult, it is important to understand the legal grounds for divorce in the state.
Connecticut is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that a spouse does not need to prove fault or wrongdoing by the other spouse in order to obtain a divorce. Instead, a spouse can simply cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for the divorce.
However, Connecticut also recognizes certain fault-based grounds for divorce, which may be used in certain circumstances. These grounds include:
- Willful desertion for one year
- Intolerable cruelty, including physical or mental abuse
- Habitual drunkenness or drug addiction
- Imprisonment for a crime
Fault-based grounds for divorce may be more difficult to prove and may lead to a more contentious divorce process.
Requirement and Waiting Period
There are certain requirements and waiting periods that must be met before a divorce can be granted in CT. These requirements and waiting periods are in place to ensure that both parties have had sufficient time to consider their options and make informed decisions.
To file for divorce in Connecticut, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least 12 months prior to the filing. Once the divorce papers have been filed, there is a mandatory waiting period of 90 days before the divorce can be finalized. This waiting period cannot be waived, even if both parties agree to the divorce.
The waiting period of 90 day cannot be waived, even if both parties agree to the divorce, the parties may use this time to negotiate and come to an agreement on issues such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.
The requirements in for a CT divorce are:
- At least one spouse must have been a resident of Connecticut for at least 12 months prior to filing for divorce.
- Divorce papers must be filed with the court.
- There is a mandatory waiting period of 90 days before the divorce can be finalized.
- The waiting period cannot be waived, even if both parties agree to the divorce.
- During the waiting period, the parties may negotiate and come to an agreement on issues such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.
- If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, they may need to go to trial and have a judge decide these issues.
- If there are children involved, the court may require the parties to attend parenting education classes before the divorce can be granted.
How an CT Judge Will Divide Marital Property
In Connecticut, marital property is divided according to the principle of equitable distribution, which means that the court will strive to divide marital property fairly, but not necessarily equally, between the parties.
When deciding how to divide marital property, the court will consider a variety of factors, including:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of each party
- Each party’s occupation, income, and employability
- The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, and appreciation of marital property
- The needs of each party
- Any wasteful dissipation of assets by either party
- The value of the property involved
- Any tax consequences of the property division
- Any other factors that the court deems relevant
The court will also take into consideration any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that the parties have entered into regarding the division of property.
Basics of Connecticut Divorce
While we have discussed major points about CT divorce, there are still some other basics that you need to know when it comes to divorce in Connecticut. Here are some of them:
Child Custody in Connecticut
In Connecticut, child custody after a divorce is determined based on the best interests of the child. The court will consider a variety of factors when making a custody determination, including:
- The child’s age, needs, and developmental status
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and intellectual needs
- Each parent’s willingness to foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent
- Each parent’s ability to cooperate with the other parent on matters related to the child
- Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse by either parent
- The child’s preferences, if the child is old enough to express them
There are two types of custody in CT: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child will live, while legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as education and medical care.
The court may award joint custody, where both parents share physical and/or legal custody of the child, or sole custody, where one parent has primary physical and/or legal custody of the child.
If the parents are unable to agree on a custody arrangement, the court may appoint a Guardian Ad Litem or a Family Relations Counselor to conduct an investigation and make recommendations to the court.
Divorce in CT Without Spouse Signature
In CT, if one spouse wants a divorce and the other spouse does not want to sign the divorce papers, the process can still move forward. The spouse seeking the divorce can file a Summons with Notice or a Summons and Verified Complaint with the court, which the other spouse will be served with.
If the other spouse fails to respond to the court within a certain period of time, the CT court may enter a default judgment in favor of the spouse seeking the divorce. However, if the other spouse contests the divorce, the court may require a trial to determine the grounds for divorce and any related issues such as property division and child custody.
CT Child Support Guidelines
In Connecticut, child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model, which takes into account the income of both parents and the needs of the child.
The child support order may include provisions for the payment of expenses such as medical expenses, educational expenses, and extracurricular activities among other basics.
The court may deviate from the child support guidelines if it determines that the application of the guidelines would be inequitable or inappropriate in a particular case. For example, the court may consider the needs of the child, the financial resources and needs of the custodial parent, and the financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent when making a determination about child support.
Divorce Records in CT
In Connecticut, divorce records are considered public records and are maintained by the Connecticut Superior Court. Divorce records can be requested by anyone and are generally available for viewing by the public.
To obtain a copy of a divorce record, individuals can contact the clerk’s office at the courthouse where the divorce was granted. Some courthouses may require individuals to fill out a request form or provide identification before releasing the records.
How to Hire a Divorce Attorney in CT
Hiring a divorce lawyer in Connecticut can be a crucial decision for individuals going through a divorce. A divorce lawyer can provide legal advice and representation throughout the divorce process, ensuring that the individual’s rights and interests are protected.
When hiring a divorce lawyer in CT, you need to consider their experience, qualifications, and reputation. It is recommended to choose a lawyer who specializes in family law and has experience handling divorce cases similar to your own.
The cost of hiring a divorce lawyer in Connecticut can vary depending on the lawyer’s experience and the complexity of the case. Some lawyers charge a flat fee for their services, while others charge an hourly rate. It is important to discuss the lawyer’s fees and payment options upfront to avoid any surprises later on.
Divorce in CT; Who Gets What?
In Connecticut, the property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally between spouses during a divorce based on the principle of equitable distribution. Marital property acquired during the marriage is subject to division, while some assets such as those acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gifts may be exempt. The court will make a determination if the parties cannot agree on the division of property.
What is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in CT?
In a divorce in Connecticut, a wife is entitled to a fair distribution of marital property acquired during the marriage and may also receive spousal support if she demonstrates financial need and if the court determines the other spouse has the ability to pay.
Divorce in CT with Child; How does it Work?
In an Connecticut divorce with a child, the court considers the best interests of the child when making decisions about custody and support. Joint or sole custody may be awarded, and child support is determined based on a formula that considers each parent’s income and the child’s needs. A divorce lawyer can provide guidance and help ensure a fair outcome for the child.
How Long does it take to get a Divorce in CT?
The time it takes to get a divorce in Connecticut varies depending on whether it is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce can be finalized in several months, while a contested divorce can take years. There is a mandatory waiting period of at least six months. It’s important to work with a divorce lawyer to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.
Connecticut divorce laws and guidelines are intricate and have a wide range of matters to be addressed. It is vital to have a good understanding of these laws in order to make informed decisions and ensure a fair outcome. By understanding these CT divorce laws, individuals can better prepare themselves for the process and take the necessary steps to protect their rights and interests.
- Connecticut Child Adoption Guidelines
- Connecticut Child Custody and Visitation Guidelines
- Connecticut Child Support Guidelines
- Connecticut Divorce Guidelines
- Cost of Divorce in Connecticut
- Connecticut Marital Property Guidelines
- Connecticut Spousal Support Guidelines
- How to Check Connecticut Child Support Payment History