Connecticut Divorce Law

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By DivorcedMoms, Senior Editor - September 24, 2013 - Updated October 05, 2013

Connecticut.jpgResidency Requirements

In Connecticut a divorce may be filed by either spouse if a resident. However, a divorce will not be finalized until one spouse has been a resident for one year; unless one of the spouses was a resident of Connecticut at the time of the marriage and returned with the intention of permanent residence; or if the grounds for the dissolution of marriage arose in Connecticut. In cases which involve support, the dissolution of marriage is to be filed in the county in which the plaintiff resides. In all other cases, the dissolution of marriage may be filed in any county which is most convenient to both spouses.

Legal Grounds for Divorce

No Fault Divorce:        

  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage       
  • Incompatibility and voluntary separation for 18 months with no reasonable prospect for reconciliation.

General Divorce or Fault Based Divorce:        

  • Adultery        
  • Life imprisonment        
  • Confinement for incurable insanity for a total of 5 years        
  • Willful desertion and nonsupport for 1 year        
  • 7 years absence        
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment        
  • Fraud        
  • Habitual intemperance (drunkenness)        
  • Commission and/or conviction of an infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty and imprisonment for at least 1 year.

Legal Separation in Connecticut:

A legal separation may be granted on the following grounds:        

  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.       
  • Incompatibility and voluntary separation.        
  • Adultery        
  • Life imprisonment.        
  • Confinement for incurable insanity for a total of 5 years.        
  • Willful desertion and nonsupport for 1 year.        
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment.        
  • Fraud        
  • Habitual intemperance (drunkenness).        
  • Commission and/or conviction of an infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty and imprisonment for at least 1 year.

A legal separation in Connecticut can be converted to a divorce as long as legally separated spouses have not "resumed their marital relationship," they may have their marriage dissolved by filing with the court a motion to convert a legal separation to dissolution of marriage.

Simplified/Special Divorce Procedures in Connecticut:

Proof of the breakdown of the marriage can be made by:        

  • The spouses signing an agreement or statement that their marriage is irretrievably broken.       
  • Both spouses stating in court that their marriage is irretrievably broken and submitting an agreement concerning the care, custody, visitation, maintenance, support, and education after custody of their children, if any, and concerning alimony and the disposition of any property.

Divorce Mediation or Counseling Requirements In Connecticut:

Within 90 days after the divorce has been filed, either spouse or the attorney for any minor children may submit a request for conciliation to the clerk of the court. Two mandatory counseling sessions will be ordered. Mediation services may also be available from the court for property, financial, custody, and visitation issues.

Alimony/Spousal Support in Connecticut:

Under Connecticut law, there is no automatic grant of alimony in a divorce proceeding. When considering a request for alimony or spousal support, the court must consider a number of factors, including:

The causes for the dissolution of marriage, including any marital fault
The distribution of the marital property
Whether the spouse seeking support is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate for that spouse not to seek outside employment
The duration of the marriage
The age of the spouses
The physical and emotional conditions of the spouses
The usual occupation of the spouses during the marriage
The needs of each spouse
The vocational skills and employability of the spouse seeking support and alimony

 Child Custody in Connecticut:

It is presumed by the state of Connecticut that sharing joint custody is in the best interest of the child, especially if the parent's agree upon it, as long as there are no extenuating circumstances that would warrant a different ruling.

If only one parent seeks to obtain joint custody, the court may order both parents to attend (and pay for) conciliation. Custody is awarded based upon the best interests of the child and the following factors:        

  • The causes for the dissolution of marriage if such causes are relevant to the best interests of the child.       
  • The wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and is capable of forming an intelligent choice.

There are no other specific state guidelines for consideration.

Child Support in Connecticut:

The Connecticut Child Support Guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model. The Income Shares Model is predicated on the concept that the child should receive the same proportion of parental income as he or she would have received if the parents lived together. The Income Shares Model has proven to be the most widely accepted, particularly due to its consideration of the income of both parents.

Connecticut's relatively high income distribution the guidelines allow for the calculation of current support based on each parent's share of the amount estimated to have been spent on the child if the parents and child were living in an intact household. The amount calculated for the custodial parent is retained by the custodial parent and presumed to be spent on the child. The amount calculated for the noncustodial parent establishes the level of current support to be ordered by the court. These two amounts together constitute the total current support obligation.

Either parent may be ordered to contribute child support, based on the following factors:        

  • The financial resources of the child.        
  • The age, health, and station of the parents.        
  • The occupation of each parent.        
  • The earning capacity of each parent.        
  • The amount and sources of income of each parent.        
  • The vocational skills and employability of each parent.        
  • The age and health of the child.        
  • The child’s occupation.        
  • The vocational skills of the child.        
  • The employability of the child.        
  • The estate and needs of the child.
  • The relative financial means of the parents.

Either parent may be ordered to provide health insurance for the child. There are official Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are presumed to be correct unless there is a showing that the amount would be inequitable or inappropriate under the particular circumstances in a case

Property Distribution in Connecticut:

Connecticut is referred to as an "all property equitable distribution state." In Connecticut, the Court has the power to "assign to either the husband or wife all or any part of the estate of the other." Any property, regardless of when or how acquired, can be re-distributed by the Court. The statute "does not limit, either by timing or method of acquisition or by source of funds, the property subject to a trial court's broad power [to allocate]." In making the allocation, the factors the Court will consider are:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker.        
  • The length of the marriage.        
  • The age and health of the spouses.        
  • The occupation of the spouses.        
  • The amount and sources of income of the spouses.        
  • The vocational skills of the spouses.        
  • The employability of the spouses.        
  • The estate, liabilities, and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income.        
  • The circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the spouses.        
  • The causes of the dissolution of marriage.

Disclaimer: The divorce law information provided is for informational purposes only not for legal advice purposes. This information is general in nature. Each jurisdiction has specific code and court procedures. A local divorce attorney is your best source for how divorce is treated in your jurisdiction. Before making any legal decisions we encourage you to consult with a local attorney…do not make decisions based on general state divorce law.

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