Connecticut State Divorce Laws

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Connecticut State Divorce Law Resources

U.S. Divorce Laws are enacted by each state using their respective legislative process. Once legislation is enacted into law, the divorce courts in Connecticut have the authority to manage the divorce proceedings, including, spousal and child support payments, custodial rights of parents and the division of community property.

Since state laws are repealed and amended frequently, it is always advisable to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer before making any important decisions about your marriage. You can also visit the GotTrouble Divorce Resource for a more expanded understanding concerning this subject.

As of 2016, all states allow for “no fault” divorce. Yet many courts still factor in the respective parties past behavior when determining the division of community property, debts, custody, support and related issues.

SAME-SEX DIVORCE – UPDATE:

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the US Constitution in all 50 states. It follows, therefore, that the rights and obligations between same-sex divorcing parties are subject to the same dissolution laws of that state. Reference: US Supreme Court Opinion: Obergefell v. Hodges.

CONNECTICUT RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE:

A decree dissolving a marriage or granting a legal separation may be entered if: (1) One of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for at least the twelve months next preceding the date of the filing of the complaint or next preceding the date of the decree; or (2) one of the parties was domiciled in this state at the time of the marriage and returned to this state with the intention of permanently remaining before the filing of the complaint; or (3) the cause for the dissolution of the marriage arose after either party moved into this state. The Superior Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all complaints seeking a decree of annulment, dissolution of a marriage or legal separation.

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LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE:

A decree of dissolution of a marriage or a decree of legal separation shall be granted upon a finding that one of the following causes has occurred:

(1) The marriage has broken down irretrievably;

(2) the parties have lived apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous period of at least the eighteen months immediately prior to the service of the complaint and that there is no reasonable prospect that they will be reconciled;

(3) adultery;

(4) fraudulent contract;

(5) willful desertion for one year with total neglect of duty;

(6) seven years’ absence, during all of which period the absent party has not been heard from;

(7) habitual intemperance;

(8) intolerable cruelty;

(9) sentence to imprisonment for life or the commission of any infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty and punishable by imprisonment for a period in excess of one year;

(10) legal confinement in a hospital or hospitals or other similar institution or institutions, because of mental illness, for at least an accumulated period totaling five years within the period of six years next preceding the date of the complaint.

LEGAL SEPARATION:

Residency requirements and grounds for a legal separation are the same as for a decree of dissolution of marriage. If no declaration resuming the marital relationship has been filed, then at any time after the entry of a decree of legal separation, either party may petition the superior court for the judicial district in which the decree was entered for a decree dissolving the marriage and the court shall enter the decree in the presence of the party seeking the dissolution.

SIMPLIFIED OR SPECIAL DIVORCE PROCEDURES – NO FAULT

Stipulation of parties and finding of irretrievable breakdown. (a) In any action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation the court shall make a finding that a marriage breakdown has occurred where (1) the parties, and not their attorneys, execute a written stipulation that their marriage has broken down irretrievably, or (2) both parties are physically present in court and stipulate that their marriage has broken down irretrievably and have submitted an agreement concerning the custody, care, education, visitation, maintenance or support of their children, if any, and concerning alimony and the disposition of property. The testimony of either party in support of that conclusion shall be sufficient.

MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS:

On or after the return day of a complaint seeking the dissolution of a marriage or a legal separation and prior to the expiration of the ninety-day period specified in section 46b-67 either spouse or the counsel for any minor children of the marriage may submit a request for conciliation to the clerk of the court. A program of mediation services for persons filing for dissolution of marriage may be established in such judicial districts of the Superior Court as the Chief Court Administrator may designate. Mediation services shall address property, financial, child custody and visitation issues.
The court shall order participation in a parenting education program whenever a minor child is involved in such action unless (1) the parties agree, subject to the approval of the court, not to participate in such program, (2) the court, on motion, determines that participation is not deemed necessary, or (3) the parties select and participate in a comparable parenting education program.

PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION:

Connecticut is an equitable distribution state. The Superior Court may assign to either the husband or wife all or any part of the estate of the other. The court may pass title to real property to either party or to a third person or may order the sale of such real property, without any act by either the husband or the wife, when in the judgment of the court it is the proper mode to carry the decree into effect.
In fixing the nature and value of the property, if any, to be assigned, the court, after hearing the witnesses, if any, of each party, shall consider the length of the marriage, the causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income. The court shall also consider the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates.

ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT:

The Superior Court may order either of the parties to pay alimony to the other, in addition to or in lieu of the property distribution. In determining whether alimony shall be awarded, and the duration and amount of the award, the court shall hear the witnesses, if any, of each party, shall consider the length of the marriage, the causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of each of the parties and the award, if any, which the court may make pursuant property distribution, and, in the case of a parent to whom the custody of minor children has been awarded, the desirability of such parent’s securing employment.

SPOUSE’S NAME:

At the time of entering a decree dissolving a marriage, the court, upon request of either spouse, shall restore the birth name or former name of such spouse.

CHILD CUSTODY:

In making or modifying any order with respect to custody or visitation, the court shall (1) be guided by the best interests of the child, giving consideration to the wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capable of forming an intelligent preference, provided in making the initial order the court may take into consideration the causes for dissolution of the marriage or legal separation if such causes are relevant in a determination of the best interests of the child, and (2) consider whether the party satisfactorily completed participation in a parenting education program.

CHILD SUPPORT:

Upon or subsequent to the annulment or dissolution of any marriage or the entry of a decree of legal separation or divorce, the parents of a minor child of the marriage, shall maintain the child according to their respective abilities, if the child is in need of maintenance. If there is an unmarried child of the marriage who has attained the age of eighteen, is a full-time high school student and resides with a parent, the parents shall maintain the child according to their respective abilities if the child is in need of maintenance until such time as such child completes the twelfth grade or attains the age of nineteen, whichever first occurs. The court may make appropriate orders of support of any child with mental retardation, who resides with a parent and is principally dependent upon such parent for maintenance until such child attains the age of twenty-one.
In determining whether a child is in need of maintenance and, if in need, the respective abilities of the parents to provide such maintenance and the amount thereof, the court shall consider the age, health, station, occupation, earning capacity, amount and sources of income, estate, vocational skills and employability of each of the parents, and the age, health, station, occupation, educational status and expectation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of the child. View Child Support Guidelines.

ENFORCING CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS – FEDERAL OPTION

Learn about the Federal Office of Child Support and Enforcement:

FIND LOCAL FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT AGENCY NEAR YOU

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