Divorce in Connecticut is legally referred to as Dissolution of Marriage.
To obtain a dissolution of marriage or legal separation one of the following requirements must be met:
Any person who has served or is serving with the armed forces or the merchant marine, and who was a resident of the sate at the time he/she filed will be deemed to have continuously resided in the state during the time he/she has served or is serving with the armed services or merchant marine.
The Superior Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all complaints seeking a decree of annulment, dissolution of marriage or legal separation.
The Plaintiff (filing party) may file a Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage, Annulment or Legal Separation in the Superior Court of the judicial district where one of the parties resides. The Complaint shall be served on the Defendant (non-filing party).
The court may not proceed on a complaint for dissolution of marriage or legal separation sooner than 90 days from the day the Complaint was made returnable. However, when dissolution is claimed under cross complaint, amended complaint or amended cross complaint, the case may be heard and a decree granted after the expiration of the 90 days, plus 20 days after the cross complaint, amended complaint or amended cross complaint has been filed, with the following exceptions.
The addition 20 days will not apply if opposing counsel consents to the cross complaint, amended complaint or amended cross complaint; or the Defendant has not appeared and the amendment does not set forth either a cause of action or a claim for relief that was not in the original complaint.
In any action for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment, at any time before final judgment any judge may require that either or both parties appear before any judge, referee or other disinterested person for the purpose of attempting a reconciliation or adjustment of differences between the parties.
On or after the return day of a Complaint for divorce or legal separation and before the expiration of the 90 waiting period, either spouse or the counsel for any minor children of the marriage may submit a request for conciliation to the clerk of the court.
The clerk will then enter an order that the parties meet with a mutually acceptable conciliator or, if the parties cannot agree to a conciliator, with one name by the court.
Within the 90 day waiting period, or within 30 days of the request, whichever is later, there shall be two mandatory consultations with the conciliator by each party to explore the possibility of reconciliation or of resolving the emotional problems which might lead to continuing conflicts following the dissolution of the marriage.
If either party fails to attend these consultations without good cause no further action may proceed on the complaint until after six months from the date of the return have passed; provided the court orders the termination of the stay, upon motion of either party, with a showing of good cause.
Further consultations may be held with the consent of both parties, or, if the conciliator recommends one or more additional consultations and either one of the parties agrees, the court may order them.
All communications during the consultations shall be absolutely privileged, except that the conciliator shall report to the court whether or not the parties attended the consultations. The fees for the service shall be paid by one or both of the parties as the court directs.
At the time of entering a decree dissolving a marriage, the court, upon request of either spouse, shall restore his/her birth name or former name. At any time after entering a divorce decree, if either spouse makes such motion, the court shall modify the judgment and restore the requesting spouse's birth name or former name.
In 2009, the Connecticut legislature approved a bill redefining marriage as the legal union between two persons. As of October 1, 2010, this transformed Connecticut civil unions into marriages by operation of law, unless they had been annulled or the couple had either divorced, or was in the process of dissolving their relationship, where a proceeding for dissolution, annulment or legal separation was pending.
A decree of dissolution of a marriage shall be granted upon a finding that one of the following causes has occurred:In any action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation the court shall make a finding that a marriage breakdown has occurred in either of the following situations:
An annulment shall be granted if the marriage is void or voidable under the laws of Connecticut or of the state in which the marriage was performed.
Void and Prohibited Marriages:
Grounds for annulment of voidable marriages:
Additionally, when any spouse has been convicted in any court of an offense against chastity, the aggrieved party may petition the Superior court within four months of the conviction and upon notice to the convicted party, the court may grant an annulment or other relief the court determines.
A proceeding for annulment shall be commenced by the service and filing of a complaint in the Superior Court for the judicial district where either of the parties resides. The complaint may also be made by the Attorney General in a proceeding for annulment of a void marriage. The complaint shall be served on the other party.
Connecticut is an equitable distribution state.
When entering a decree of annulment, dissolution of marriage or legal separation, the Superior Court may assign to either 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 the real property, without any action by either spouse, when the court find that it is the proper mode to carry the decree into effect.
When determining 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 following criteria:
At the time of entering the decree, the Superior Court may order either spouse to pay alimony to the other, in addition to or in place of a property award.
In determining whether alimony should be awarded, and the duration and amount of the award, the court will consider most of the same criteria that are reviewed in determining a property award:
The court will also consider any property award that has been made. Additionally, in the case of a parent who has been awarded custody of a minor child, the court will consider the desirability of that parent securing employment.
In any controversy before the Superior Court regarding the custody or care of minor children, and at any time after the return day of any complaint for divorce, annulment or legal separation, the court with jurisdiction may make or modify any proper order regarding the custody, care, education, visitation and support of the children.
Parenting Education Program:
A parenting education program refers to a course designed by the Judicial Department to educate persons, including unmarried parents, on the impact on children of the restructuring of families. The course shall include, but not be limited to, information on the developmental stages of children, adjustment of children to parental separation, dispute resolution and conflict management, guidelines for visitation, stress reduction in children and cooperative parenting.
The court shall order any party to an action related to family matters, except actions related to family abuse and juvenile issues, to participate in a parenting education program whenever a minor child is involved in the action, unless the following is true:
The court may assign parental responsibility for raising the child to the parents jointly, or may award custody to either parent or to a third party, according to its best judgment upon the facts of the case and subject to such conditions and limitations as it deems fair. There is a presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of a minor child when the parents have agreed to an award of joint custody and if it declines to do so, the court shall state in its decision the reasons for denial of joint custody.
Joint custody awards legal custody of the minor child to both parents, providing for joint decision-making by the parents and provides that physical custody will be shared by the parents in such a way as to assure the child of continuing contact with both parents. The court may award joint legal custody without awarding joint physical custody when the parents have agreed to only joint legal custody.
The court may also make any order granting the right of visitation of any child to a third party to the action, including, but not limited to, grandparents.
When making or modifying any custody order, the court shall consider the best interest of the child and while doing so may consider one or more of the following factors:
The court is not required to assign any weight to any of the factors that it considers. As part of a decision concerning custody or visitation, the court may order either or both parents and the child of the parents to participate in counseling and drug or alcohol screening, provided that this participation is in the best interests of the child.
When making its determination, the court shall consider the rights and responsibilities of both parents and shall enter orders that serve the best interest of the child and provide the child with the active and consistent involvement of both parents in proportion with their abilities and interests.
These orders may include the following:
The proposed parental responsibility plan shall include, at a minimum, the following information:
In determining whether a child is in need of support and, if in need, the respective abilities of the parents to provide support and the amount needed, the court shall take into consideration the following factors:
Connecticut uses the Income Shares Model in determining child support. The formula uses the net monthly income of the parents and the number of children for whom support will be ordered, with adjustments for health insurance payments and child support paid by either parent for other children.
The court shall include a provision for the health care coverage of the child in each support order. This provision may include an order for either or both parents to provide this coverage by any or all of the following methods:
If there is an unmarried child of the marriage who has attained 18 years of age and is a full-time high school student, the parents shall maintain the child according to their respective abilities if the child is in need of it until he/she completes 12th grade or reaches the age of 19 years, whichever occurs first.
Educational Support Order:
An education support order is an order requiring a parent to provide support for a child or children to attend an institution of higher education or a private occupational school for up to a total of four full academic years to attain a bachelor's or other undergraduate degree, or other vocational instruction.
This type of order may be entered with respect to any child who has not attained 23 years of age and will terminate no later than the date that the child attains 23 years of age.
Jurisdiction over Nonresident:
In a proceeding to establish or enforce a support order, the Connecticut court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident individual if one of the following occurs:
A decree of legal separation has the same effect as a decree dissolving the marriage, except that neither party is free to marry.
Grounds for a decree of legal separation are identical to those for dissolution of marriage.
In all cases where the parents of a minor child live separately, the Superior Court for the judicial district where either or both parties resides may, on the application of either party and after notice given to the other, make any order as to the custody, care, education, visitation and support of any minor child of the parties. Proceedings to obtain these orders shall be commenced by service of an application, a summons and an order to show cause.
If a couple who have obtained a decree of legal separation reconcile and wish to have the decree vacated and the complaint dismissed, they may file a written Declaration of Resumption, signed, acknowledged and witnessed, with the clerk of the Superior Court in the district where the separation was decreed.
If there has been no Declaration filed and one of the parties petitions the Superior Court at any time after the entry of the separation decree, in the district where it was entered, the court may enter a decree dissolving the marriage in the presence of the party seeking the dissolution.
*I understand that my data will be kept confidential and not offered to any third party.