The Connecticut Divorce Process

No one enters a marriage with the idea that it is going to end in divorce. However, for many couples a divorce is the only solution for an unhappy situation.

If you’re considering filing for divorce in Connecticut, make sure you understand the types of dissolutions available to you.

Uncontested Connecticut Divorce
In an uncontested divorce you and your spouse request that the Court order a divorce pursuant to the terms of a separation agreement.

The separation agreement, usually drafted with the assistance of an attorney, reviews the equitable division of property, assets, debt, businesses, and inheritances, and clarifies issues surrounding child custody and support. Additionally, where there are minor children involved, the parents must attend a parenting education class.

The Court may request other documents as well. These may include a Financial Affidavit and a certification that the parents attended a parenting education class.

Once the paperwork is complete, both parties appear before a judge. At this meeting, the judge will ask questions concerning the documents. As long as there are no problems, the judge will order the divorce.

If you are considering an uncontested divorce, you may also want to consider the use of Divorce Mediation or Collaborative Divorce.

Mediation has long been a successful resource available to parties who are going through a divorce. Its purpose is to allow parties to sit down with a trained professional and discuss their issues in an open manner. The mediator does not represent either party, and does not promote or support one spouse’s position over the other. The mediator’s role is to facilitate open communication and provide the parties with options that are available for their particular issues. The mediation environment provides the parties with a way to find common ground and bring resolution to all areas with no court involvement.

Collaborative divorce is a growing area in the practice of family law. While each party has their own respective lawyer who advocates for their position, as is the case in traditional divorce cases, the collaborative process is different. An agreement is signed that states that the parties and their lawyers will not pursue the customary motions and court pleadings at the outset of the case. Instead, the couple and their lawyers have meetings to discuss all of the issues in an honest, forthright manner, and cooperate to resolve disputes and reach an equitable agreement.

Contested Connecticut Divorce

A contested divorce is more complex. It begins when one spouse (the plaintiff) files a Complaint for Divorce. The second spouse (the defendant) must answer the complaint. At this point, the divorce enters a pre-trial phase, which involves a discovery period.

During this discovery period, both sides exchange information and attempt to resolve any issues, such as financial disputes and child custody. Later in the process, each side captures their proposed resolutions in Pre-Trial Memorandums, which they submit to the Court.

At the actual Trial, the judge hears both sides, including witnesses; reviews exhibits and evidence; decides any issues; and grants the divorce. While you’re not required to have an attorney, a contested divorce is like any other case heard in court. It can be difficult to understand and follow all the rules.

Whatever road your divorce takes, it’s important to have the proper support system. That includes a good lawyer who understands divorce laws in Connecticut.

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