Connecticut Divorce Laws
The state of Connecticut has unique divorce laws for people who wish to terminate their marriage.
We are providing this online divorce information to you as an easy divorce reference guide to help you while you are doing your own divorce. This information (and much more) is available inside your personal 3StepDivorce account area in order to help you understand how Connecticut addresses the most important issues in the divorce process and certain elements throughout your divorce forms.
The following overview of Connecticut divorce laws will help you understand the filing procedure and other primary issues concerning your divorce. Please keep in mind that our Connecticut online divorce service and support staff will make the process easy for you from start to finish. We take the difficulty out of doing your own divorce.
Residency Requirements: In order to file for a Dissolution of Marriage in Connecticut, you or your spouse must meet the strict residency requirements. These requirements permit the court to have jurisdiction of your case, resulting in allowing you to use their judicial system. These requirements are only a concern for spouses who have recently relocated or plan to relocate in the near future. They are as follows:
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.
For the purposes of this section, any person who has served or is serving with the armed forces, as defined by section 27-103, or the Merchant Marine, and who was a resident of this state at the time of his or her entry shall be deemed to have continuously resided in this state during the time he or she has served or is serving with the armed forces or Merchant Marine. The Dissolution of Marriage is typically filed with in county in which the filing spouse lives.
(Connecticut General Statutes - Title 46b - Chapter 44)
No-Fault Grounds: Most uncontested Dissolution of Marriage cases are filed according to a "no-fault" ground. We are using the term "no-fault" in a generic fashion by labeling all grounds that do not actually declare a "fault" as "no-fault". In the state of Connecticut the "no-fault" grounds are as follows:
Filing Party Name: The Plaintiff. This is the spouse who is recognized as the initiator of the Dissolution of Marriage and is the one who actually files the Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage with the county court.
Non-Filing Party Name: The Defendant. This spouse plays a lesser role in an uncontested Dissolution of Marriage versus a contested Dissolution of Marriage. He or she will be required to sign and/or respond in a timely fashion to the documents filed by his or her spouse.
Family Law or Domestic Relations Court: Superior Court. All Dissolution of Marriage cases in the state of Connecticut are facilitated through this court for that particular county.
Clerk's Name: All correspondence with a Connecticut clerk of the court should formally address him or her as follows: County Clerk's Office of the Superior Court.
Changing Name: Restoration of birth name or former name of spouse. (a) 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.
At any time after entering a decree dissolving a marriage, the court, upon motion of either spouse, shall modify such judgment and restore the birth name or former name of such spouse. (Connecticut General Statutes - Title 46b - Chapter 63)
Property and Debt Division: Connecticut is considered an "equitable distribution" state. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on how the marital property will be divided, the court shall use a three step process. First, it will determine what property is marital. Second, it will put a value on the marital property. Third, it will divide the marital property in an equitable fashion, which is not necessarily equal, but rather what is considered to be fair.
The court shall consider the following factors in determining the appropriate property distribution award: 1. length of the marriage, 2. the causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, 3. the age, 4. health, 5. occupation, 6. amount and sources of income, 7. vocational skills, 8. employability, 9. estate, 10. 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. (Connecticut General Statutes - Title 46b - Chapter 81)
Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony: Determining the amount of spousal support, if any, is not as objective as determining child support. Spousal support, whether permanent or temporary, is typically decided on a case-by-case basis, because it is very likely that unique circumstances and factors regarding the marriage and the property award will play a significant role in allowing the court to arrive at the appropriate amount.
At the time of entering the decree, the Superior Court may order either of the parties to pay alimony to the other, in addition to or along with an award. 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, and shall consider: 1. the length of the marriage, 2. the causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, 3. the age, 4. health, 5. occupation, 6. amount and sources of income, 7. vocational skills, 8. employability, 9. estate and needs of each of the parties and the award, in the case of a parent to whom the custody of minor children has been awarded, the desirability of such parent's securing employment. (Connecticut General Statutes - Title 46b - Chapters 82 and 86)
Custody and Visitation: Shared or joint child custody has become more and more popular with the Connecticut courts. If you and your spouse request to have joint or shared "legal" custody, it will almost always be granted. As for joint or shared "physical" custody, the court will examine this a bit more closely to determine if it is a realistic choice that would result in an arrangement that is best for the children.
In making or modifying any order with respect to custody or visitation, the court shall (a) 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 (b) consider whether the party satisfactorily completed participation in a parenting education program established pursuant to section 46b-69b.
There shall be a presumption, affecting the burden of proof, that joint custody is in the best interests of a minor child where the parents have agreed to an award of joint custody or so agree in open court at a hearing for the purpose of determining the custody of the minor child or children of the marriage. If the court declines to enter an order awarding joint custody, the court shall state in its decision the reasons for denial of an award of joint custody. (Connecticut General Statutes - Title 46b - Chapter 56 and 84)
Determining Child Support: The basis for determining a monthly support amount is best achieved by referring to the Connecticut child support worksheet. The worksheet utilizes the child support guidelines that are defined by state law. The court will use this same worksheet as a building block for determining the support obligation, that is if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on this issue.
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. (Connecticut General Statutes - Title 46b - Chapter 84)
Copyright Notice: These Connecticut divorce laws above are copyrighted by Divorce Source, Inc. This abbreviated and revised version of the state laws has been compiled from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction in any fashion is prohibited. Violation of this copyright notice may result in immediate legal action.
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