Overview of Divorce in Connecticut

The following is an overview of divorce in Connecticut. Dissolution of marriage in Connecticut may be filed as either fault or no fault, with property divided according to the “equitable distribution” principle, and spouse and child support determined by the proportional shares model.

Residency and Filing Requirements

At least one of the parties must be a resident of Connecticut for at least 12 months prior to filing for dissolution of marriage, with military or merchant marine personnel deemed to be residents if they were at the time of their entry into either the military or merchant marine.

Grounds for Filing

The Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage may be filed as either No Fault or Fault.

Grounds for a No-Fault dissolution are either that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, or the parties have willfully lived apart for at least the eighteen months immediately prior to the complaint with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

Grounds for Fault dissolution include adultery, willful desertion for one year, seven years’ absence with no communication, habitual intemperance, intolerable cruelty, imprisonment for life, and some other major crimes, institutionalization for at least five of the previous six years.

Restoration or Name Change

Restoration of birth name or former name may be awarded upon dissolution of the marriage.

Property Distribution

Connecticut is an "equitable distribution" state, so marital property will be divided equitably albeit not necessarily evenly. If the parties don’t agree on a settlement of property and debt issues, the court will decide, considering length of marriage, causes for dissolution, age and health, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of both parties and other factors.

Spousal Support

Not all cases involve spousal support on a temporary or permanent basis. Support is either agreed by both parties or on a case-by-case basis by the court. The court may order the payee to obtain life insurance. The award is determined by consideration of length of the marriage, the causes for the dissolution of the marriage, the age and health, vocational skills, employability,

Child Custody and Support

When children are involved in the dissolution of a marriage, Connecticut courts will do everything within their power to abate the emotional trauma the children may be subject to. If parents cannot agree on the issues involving children, the court will establish custody at its discretion.

The court will be guided by the best interests of the child, and consider the wishes of the child if of sufficient age and capable of forming an intelligent preference and will take into account whether the parent has completed a parenting education course, which the court must make available in Connecticut. The court may also appoint counseling for children.

Connecticut apportions child support based on the Income Shares Model, proportionally according to each parent¹s income.

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