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Divorce: Frequently Asked Questions

HOW DOES DIVORCE WORK IN CONNECTICUT?

In Connecticut there are three types of divorce processes:

  • NON-ADVERSARIAL DIVORCE — Also called a simplified divorce, nonadversarial divorce allows eligible couples to bypass the 90-day waiting period and obtain a final divorce within days without even appearing before a judge. To qualify for this type of divorce, you must have been married for less than 10 years. You cannot have children or be expecting. You cannot have any real estate interests, and your total assets must be worth less than $80,000. You cannot have a defined pension plan or a pending bankruptcy. You cannot be receiving Title XIX nursing home/home-care benefits. You cannot have another divorce action pending, and you cannot have an order of protection issued between you. You must file a joint petition, which can include a settlement agreement, along with a financial affidavit and other court forms.
  • DIVORCE WITH AGREEMENT— This is a type of uncontested divorce that also allows you to waive the 90-day waiting period. You can obtain this type of divorce even if you have children and a substantial marital estate. However, parents of minor children must attend a parenting education program within 60 days of filing. One party initiates the proceedings by filing a divorce petition, along with numerous other court forms. However, the parties should lay the groundwork for their agreement prior to filing. Reaching an agreement takes a substantial commitment, hard work and cooperation. Parties can reach an agreement through traditional negotiation, mediation or the collaborative process.
  • DIVORCE WITHOUT AN AGREEMENT — Couples who are unable to come to an agreement on all their ancillary issues — alimony, child custody, child support, and division of property — must present their outstanding issues to a judge. This type of contested divorce is necessary when parties have serious disagreements about how to divide their property or how to raise their children. Because the process requires a trial, it is more expensive and time consuming than uncontested divorce.

Although it is generally best to reach an agreement with your spouse about your divorce, it is unwise to accept a poor outcome simply to avoid conflict. When deciding how to proceed with your divorce, it’s important to get reliable advice from an experienced attorney who can understand your situation and help you reach your goals.

Needle | Cuda: Divorce and Family Law can help you move through the process.

Can I get a Divorce in Connecticut without going to Court?

Until recently, physically appearing in family court before a judge was required to finalize a divorce and obtain a court ordered Divorce Decree.

As a result of government office shutdowns and disruptions due to COVID-19, the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch revised is procedure in May of 2022 to allow “Final Judgments” and “Orders” as to Separation Agreements and other agreements related to Divorce and Family Law cases without requiring the parties (or their counsel) to appear in Court.

Accordingly, the following type of actions can be accepted and heard “on the papers”:

  • Divorce or Legal Separation
  • Custody / Visitation Agreements
  • Motion / Groups of Motions

Divorcing parties must be very careful when utilizing this process as there are specific documents that must be filed with the Court prior to the Court’s consideration of the Application for Approval without Appearance.  The Connecticut Judicial Branch has developed specific forms that must be utilized if an Agreement is to be approved without the presence of the parties. The type of form depends on the case or action to be disposed of and the Connecticut Judicial Branch has developed a website specifically outlining which forms are for which category of case.  The attorneys of Needle | Cuda can guide you in any way needed through the newly developed non-appearing agreement process.

Divorce Judgements/Final Orders now heard “On the Papers” (with no Court appearance) for Uncontested Divorce and Select Custody/Visitation Motions

If you and your spouse have agreed on all the issues relating to your divorce (for example: alimony, division of property, child support and visitation (if applicable), etc.), then you will be able to submit to the court a fully executed copy of your Separation Agreement (Dissolution Agreement) as well as the other required forms, and the Court may enter a judgment of dissolution, i.e. order you divorced from your spouse without you or your spouse having to appear as long as you and your spouse have a written agreement and file the written agreement with the Court in addition to the necessary forms.  The same concept applies for other pending custody / visitation and/or other motions, whether pendente lite or post judgment, the Court may grant a judgment regarding a matter as long as the paperwork is appropriately submitted.

WHAT IS LEGAL SEPARATION?

Legal separation is a remedy for married couples who no longer want to live together but do not want a final divorce. The effect of a legal separation is essentially the same as a divorce except that neither party is free to remarry. Reasons for seeking a legal separation include:

  • Religious objections to divorce
  • Dependence on a spouse’s benefits, such as health insurance, which would terminate upon divorce
  • Hope for a later reconciliation

Once you have a legal separation, you can obtain a final divorce more easily and quickly. If instead you reconcile with your spouse, you do not need to remarry in order to have a legally married status, as your marital status never changed.

 

WESTPORT DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS REPRESENT CLIENTS IN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE, CUSTODY/VISITATION CASES AND MOTIONS IN CT WITHOUT APPEARING IN COURT

The agreements and requisite forms will not be rubber stamped by the Judges, and each Agreement reviewed under this process must still satisfy the requisite Connecticut Law requirements.  The attorneys of Needle | Cuda can guide you in any way needed through the newly developed non-appearing agreement process.

 

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers – Alternatives to Divorce in Connecticut

In the State of Connecticut, "Legal Separation" and "Annulment" are legal alternatives to a Divorce.

Legal Separation involves a scenario where a couple wants to live apart, but doesn't want to formally (legally) end their marriage.   A clear example of this involves religious couples where their religious beliefs disallow Divorce.

For more information about Legal Separation reference our Practice area page on this subject Legal Separation in Connecticut and Attorney Alexander Cuda's Blog What is Legal Separation and When is it the best approach?

Annulment -  Annulments and divorces are similar in the sense that they make a determination about marital status.  The key difference between an divorce and an annulment is that a divorce dissolves an existing, valid legal marriage whereas an annulment simply involves a determination that the marriage was invalid and never actually a marriage at all. So, in the eyes of the Connecticut law, an annulment would determine that  marriage never really existed.

In Connecticut, the grounds on which one can file a Complaint for Annulment so as to declare your marriage void include:

  • The spouses are closely related (legally known as "Consanguinity," a blood relationship, in simple terms meaning a close family relationship). No person can marry a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, parent's sibling, sibling's child, stepparent, or stepchild.
  • Bigamy - One spouse is legally married to someone else at the time of the second marriage;
  • Mental incompetence (at the time of the marriage);
  • Invalid Marriage License where state requirements were not met (e.g. no blood test or a ceremony performed by an authorized officiant).
  • Inducement into the marriage by force, fraud, or duress (coercion) by a third party.
  • A health problem or physical condition of a spouse that directly impacts the core, or heart, of the marriage; A failure to disclose the problem from the other spouse. (e.g. a husband who concealed a known condition of impotence that ultimately prevented the couple from having sexual relations).

 

A Complaint for Annulment must filed in the Connecticut Superior Court in order to obtain a declaration/Court Order that a marriage is invalid or annulled,

The required elements for a Complaint for Annulment include:

  • Date and location of the marriage;
  • Identification of any children that were born from the marriage (e.g. legal names, date of birth, etc.);
  • Disclose of any "other minor children" to which the wife gave birth after the date of the marriage (including the identity of the man is legally responsible for them by court order);
  • Information detailing any aid/support being provide by the State of Connecticut (e.g. child support or spousal support);
  • A clear articulation of the reasons that the marriage was invalid and should be voided under Connecticut law or the law of another jurisdiction, and the reasons why, and
  • Plaintiff's demands for relief (what the plaintiff wants to happen).

The defendant can file an answer after being properly "served" with a Complaint for Annulment.  Defendant's answer may admit or deny any or all allegations in the complaint. The answer should also include Defendant's claims for relief and/or a Cross-Complaint requesting a Marriage Dissolution (a.k.a. divorce), Legal Separation, or Annulment.

Both parties are required to appear in Family Court.  Plaintiff's  must meet the "burden of proof" that the marriage should be annulled or invalidated by offering "clear and convincing evidence."  The State of Connecticut holds a high bar for Annulment because, in general, Connecticut statutes broadly assume that all marriages are legal and valid.

If you pursue an Annulment, it is always best to seek the advice of an experienced family lawyer and there are many related complexities (e.g.  custodial, child support, potential alimony claims, and property/asset division.)

If you are successful and receive a Court Ordered Annulment, your marriage will be deemed invalid from the moment you married, as opposed to the date of the court order. You status as a single person is immediately restored and you can marry again.

Just as with a divorce, the legal separation process begins by one spouse filing a complaint with the court. The complaint may assert the same grounds for separation as would be used for divorce, including the “no fault” basis that the marriage is irretrievably broken down without hope of reconciliation.

While fault may also be asserted as a basis for the legal separation, it is extraordinarily rare since it is sufficient, for purposes of being able to obtain the separation, just to allege irretrievable breakdown. However, the cause of the breakdown of the marriage may still be relevant as a factor affecting alimony and distribution of property awards.

In most ways, the process and outcome of a legal separation are similar to that of a divorce, with the distinction being that at final judgment the parties to a legal separation are still legally married, and cannot remarry. The complaint must be served on the other spouse, who then has the opportunity to file an answer and cross complaint. The resolution of the case is likely to proceed generally in the same manner as a divorce, and may be resolved via a negotiated settlement or trial. A legal separation may also be converted, under certain circumstances, to a divorce.

What is Legal Separation?

Legal separation is a remedy for married couples who no longer want to live together but do not want a final divorce. The effect of a legal separation is essentially the same as a divorce except that neither party is free to remarry. Reasons for seeking a legal separation include:

  • Religious objections to divorce;
  • Dependence on a spouse’s benefits, such as health insurance, which would terminate upon divorce;
  • Hope for a later reconciliation;

Once you have a legal separation, you can obtain a final divorce more easily and quickly. If instead you reconcile with your spouse, you do not need to remarry in order to have a legally married status, as your marital status never changed.

The government considers legally separated spouses as "married."  Couples who divorce after 10 years of marriage may receive Social Security benefits based on the former spouse's earnings, and the tax, estate, and insurance consequences may differ from those of a divorce.  After the legal separation, if one spouse decides to get a divorce, a simple motion to the court and an affidavit stating that the parties have not resumed marital relations converts a separation into a divorce without the participation of the other spouse.

A couple "living apart" is not legally separated

This is true regardless of the length of time, and they do not have the benefits of any court orders, so enforcing non-written, informal agreements may be difficult.

In Connecticut, both divorce and legal separation require a (90) ninety day waiting period. The waiting period begins on the date the petitioner files the complaint for a legal separation. The waiting period gives the parties three months to work out a settlement.

A Legal Separation lasts indefinitely, but it can be undone and the marriage resumed

A legal separation lasts indefinitely. Unlike a divorce, it can be undone when the petitioner files a declaration of resumption of marital relations and the court vacates the separation. However, a legal separation agreement allows the parties to convert the legal separation into a divorce decree easily. The petitioner files a motion asking the court to grant the conversion. If the petitioner makes the request, the judge must approve it. The respondent spouse can't contest it. After the legal separation process has been completed, the court should not require the usual 90-day waiting period to grant a divorce.

Dispute Resolution in Legal Separation

If couples cannot agree on the terms and conditions of their separation, the judge decides issues for them, just as he would in a contested divorce.

How do I file for Legally Separated in Connecticut?

Just as with a divorce, the legal separation process begins by one spouse filing a complaint with the court. The complaint may assert the same grounds for separation as would be used for divorce, including the “no fault” basis that the marriage is irretrievably broken down without hope of reconciliation.

While fault may also be asserted as a basis for the legal separation, it is extraordinarily rare since it is sufficient, for purposes of being able to obtain the separation, just to allege irretrievable breakdown. However, the cause of the breakdown of the marriage may still be relevant as a factor affecting alimony and distribution of property awards.

In most ways, the process and outcome of a legal separation are similar to that of a divorce, with the distinction being that at final judgment the parties to a legal separation are still legally married, and cannot remarry. The complaint must be served on the other spouse, who then has the opportunity to file an answer and cross complaint. The resolution of the case is likely to proceed generally in the same manner as a divorce, and may be resolved via a negotiated settlement or trial. A legal separation may also be converted, under certain circumstances, to a divorce.

ISSUES TO BE SETTLED TO OBTAIN A LEGAL SEPARATION

As with a divorce, a legal separation decree should cover such issues as:

  • Spousal support — A separated spouse may be eligible for alimony.
  • Child custody — The court can require you to attend a parenting program. A Connecticut child custody attorney at our firm can help you achieve a fair and practical parenting plan.
  • Child support —Both parents share responsibility for supporting a child, but payments are usually made by the noncustodial parent to the other parent in amounts that are fixed based on need and financial ability. The child custody arrangement you decide upon will significantly impact an order for support.
  • Property division — As with divorce, Connecticut employs the equitable distribution process, which divides the property of the spouses fairly based on consideration of a host of factors.

As with a divorce, a legal separation decree should cover such issues as:

  • Spousal support — A separated spouse may be eligible for alimony;
  • Child custody — The court can require you to attend a parenting program. A Connecticut child custody attorney at our firm can help you achieve a fair and practical parenting plan;
  • Child support —Both parents share responsibility for supporting a child, but payments are usually made by the noncustodial parent to the other parent in amounts that are fixed based on need and financial ability;
  • The Child custody arrangement you decide upon will significantly impact an order for support;
  • Property division — As with divorce, Connecticut employs the equitable distribution process, which divides the property of the spouses fairly based on consideration of a host of factors.

How these issues are decided can have a huge impact on your future. If you go on to request a dissolution of your marriage, the court will generally use the terms of your separation decree as the basis for your divorce decree.

You should not take any action without careful consideration under the guidance and advice of an experienced divorce and family law form, like Needle | Cuda.

 

What Can I Expect from my Paid Consultation?

Advice from an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Prospective clients who schedule and complete a Paid Consultation get the same advice and service we provide to established clients, even though a formal Client Relationship has not been established.  You will have uninterrupted time with an experienced Divorce and Family Law Attorney to ask questions and explore your options/strategy.

The Benefit of Attorney Client Privilege

Anything you say,convey, and/or communicate to us is subject to the protection of Attorney-Client Privilege  -- as that relationship is established by the payment for service.

Our Dedicated Time and Focus

Our Initial Consultations are scheduled and blocked out for an hour.  Some run longer, but we never rush you.

Document and Case Review with Legal Analysis and Strategy Recommendations

  • Review of existing orders, agreements, and court documents AND a specific legal analysis based on the facts and information that you have provided;
  • Develop a strategy to help you obtain and secure all the personal, financial, tax, healthcare, and medical information you need;
  • A detailed explanation of your rights in a Connecticut Divorce;
  • Review of your options for child custody and visitation, and calculate child and spousal support for you;
  • Inventory your assets and explain characterization and division of assets.
    • Determine if you have any reimbursement rights, and provide an explanation;
    • Assess if you need to hire other experts, such as forensic accountants, vocational evaluators, and/or child custody evaluators.  And, explain the pros and cons of hiring these experts;
  • Explore options for handling your divorce;
    • Litigation
    • Mediation,
    • Arbitration
    • Limited scope representation.

We review your options and explain the potential costs to determine the most cost-effective method to handle you divorce.

It is not unusual for us to advise a client during an initial consultation that our services are actually not needed.  We regularly offer alternatives that benefit only you (and not us), such as referring you or helping you behind the scenes in a mediation.

A Paid Consultation helps you avoids the following time-wasters:

  • Rehashing useless information that can be found on the internet.
    •  We will not waste your time giving you general information you can find on our website.
  • Hard sales tactics.
  • Some Divorce lawyers can be inappropriately and prematurely aggressive.  Some might try to offer a service/strategy that is off-point and hasty maneuvers that are suspect.  Still others may manipulate feeling of anger, fear and paranoia -- creating conflict just to make as much money as possible because “free legal advice” does not pay their bills.
  • Inexperienced or unscrupulous lawyers.

You get what you pay for

In a divorce, your children, marital assets, and future are on the line.  You want a lawyer who understands the complexity and nuances of your finances and assets.  If an attorney is doing free work, they do not understand money.  If they can’t budget for themselves, they certainly cannot advocate on your behalf for an equal/fair division of assets.  Be wary of “cheap” lawyers who will accept $2,500 or 5,000 for your case when your case is replete with complex issues.

Initial retainers do not fund your entire case, and many times, these lawyers enter a case as a "loss leader" with no long-term commitment to you.  It is important to note, that the limited involvement of this kind of attorney can harm you in the long run.  If you pay a cheap roofer to for a “cheap patch job”, and your roof will collapse in the next rainstorm.  When you finally pay a professional roofer, they will charge you more than they would have originally charged you, just to undo the damage from a cheap patch job.  You get what you pay for.

 

 

Most Divorce Attorneys in Fairfield County do not offer Free Consultations.

Needle|Cuda does not offer free consultations.

  • Free consultations create potential liability for Divorce Attorneys (e.g. the possibility of a malpractice claim brought by your spouse in a high conflict divorce);
  • If a Divorce Attorney formally meets with you, that attorney is automatically "conflicted out" of representing your spouse; (in accordance with the Connecticut Rules of Practice)

Lawyers offering Free Consultations are not providing "legal advice"

Most all of the lawyers who offer “Free consults” are not giving you “legal advice.”  There is no such thing as a free lunch, and there are no free consultations in divorce.

Free Consultations create liability for lawyers

Giving legal advice jeopardizes the lawyer, potentially risking themselves of malpractice claims by creating a factual circumstance wherein an attorney-client relationship could be asserted or claimed down the road.   A good, successful lawyer at the top of their game does not expose themselves to liability by giving random legal advice for free.

Those attorneys that  offer Free Consultations simply use them to engage in hard sales tactics and to sell you on their services.  This is a waste of both of your time.

You Get What You Pay For

All of our clients who schedule a Paid Consultation after having “Free Consults” elsewhere have said, “You really do get what you pay for out there.”  In our experience, a thorough initial consultation lasts at least 1 hour.  If a firm or lawyer is willing to commit several hours delivering “free legal advice”, they must be lacking clients or experience.

Remember, a lawyer’s time is his stock.  Reputable, experienced divorce lawyers at the top of their game charge market rates for their time in return for valuable knowledge and expertise.  And, there is a comfort in knowing that you are getting what you paid for.

When facing the prospect of divorce, it is critical to choose the right process to efficiently resolve your open marital disputes, craft an enforceable agreement that meets Connecticut's statutory requirements (known as a Divorce Agreement, Divorce Decree, or Separation Agreement), and complete formal process/procedure required by the Connecticut Superior Court Family Division -- so that your divorce agreement is properly filed with court, certified by the court/family law judge, and entered as a final and valid divorce order.

The complexity and size of your marital property, the relationship and trust level that you have and can maintain during the process with your soon to be ex-spouse, the length of of your marriage, the needs and best interest of your children, and the stability and/or alignment of your parenting views and expectations with your co-parent are some of the most important factors in determining that Mediation is right for you and is able to deliver on its "promise."

On the surface, the most common considerations on which people initially focus include: maintaining privacy, controlling the costs, and minimizing the incredible stress of the process.  In this context, "Are you going to Mediate?" has evolved as the default reaction and "Go To Question" confronting people facing Divorce -- therefore representing the so-called amicable path and positive solution.

By contrast, the perceived opposite of Mediation is the so-called conventional "Divorce" -- where the idea of "hiring a good Divorce Lawyer" seems to be associated with maximum conflict, costly litigation, and the next "War of the Roses."

Both of these perceptions are superficial stereotypes deeply rooted in pop culture. They reflect a very shallow understanding what Mediation "is" and "isn't"; un-informed ideas of how the Mediation process works, and whether your individual interests are reasonably "protected" by the process; and "if" the specific, tangible benefits offered by Mediation are reasonable to expect given your unique situation. As with most things, “the devil is always in the details.”

The truth is that every case is not a good candidate for Mediation, there are a great many technical nuances and protections (legal and statutory) that should be considered before committing to a path of Divorce Mediation in Connecticut.  It should also be noted that there are a wide variety of Divorce Mediation models available to you...it's not a "one-size-fits-all" thing and it is nuanced.  It is also important to note in answering this question that most Divorce and Family Law Attorneys are well equipped and make every attempt to (first) work through issues amicably and craft divorce agreements with an informed, negotiation between both parties without litigation.  So therefore, the negative stereotypes: Mediation is good AND Divorce Attorney is bad are both ill-deserved and quite often inaccurate.

The basic difference (Mediation vs. Divorce) is that in a Mediation the spouses engage a third party to help them work through their issues.  That third party does not represent either spouses individual, best interests.  A Mediator's prime directive/obligation is to bring both parties to settlement -- which, in the context of Divorce Mediation can come at the expense of the individual best interests of one or both of the parties.   In a conventional divorce, both parties engage lawyers who are responsible for protecting the individual, best interest of their respective client.

A closer look at Mediation reveals important risk factors to Mediation participants that should be fully considered and clearly understood versus the protections and benefits that a conventional divorce offers when individually represented by n experienced divorce lawyer.  See Advantages/Disadvantages of Mediation before foregoing a traditional path for divorce (that starts with the Filing of a Divorce Complaint in the Connecticut Superior Court Family Division) or a hybrid litigation/mediation divorce process. See Divorce Mediation FAQs

Connecticut is an Equitable Distribution state. This means that all marital assets are divided in a fair and equitable way. To be clear, it does not mean that they are always divided equally on a 50/50 basis.

Connecticut Family Law Judges have broad discretion in determining how assets/property is divided in a  Connecticut Divorce.  The decision to take your case to trial (Family Court) always carries risk as things may not work out or align with your expectations, including the disposition and division of Premarital Property.  It is always advisable to make every attempt possible to settle your property/asset division disputes by agreement of the parties.

Separate property is awarded only to the spouse who owns it and will not be a factor in dividing assets.

One of the most common questions asked by men and women who are contemplating a divorce is “how will my spouse’s cheating on me” impact the case.

The short answer is that generally and in a vast majority of cases it does not.  Although Divorce Complaints can, in fact, be filed in Connecticut on Fault-based or No-Fault grounds.  Most divorces are filed on No-Fault grounds - where neither spouse is blaming the other for the dissolution.  Generally speaking, this simplifies the process and minimizes potential emotional conflicts.  Further, plaintiff -spouses do not have to prove (with specific evidence) that the other spouse's misconduct was what caused the relationship to fail in their divorce action.

It is important to note that a petition filed on "No fault" grounds does NOT necessarily preclude a Family Court from factoring into their decisions that one spouse is the reason why the marriage broken down.

Specifically, Connecticut divorce statutes explicitly permit a judge to factor the causes of the divorce (a.k.a. fault) into their decisions when dividing marital property and/or awarding alimony (C.G.S. - §§ 46b-81 (c) and 46b-82 (a).)  Conversely, it does not mean that Family Judges will indeed factor the causes a marriage breaks down into their decisions, just that they have the discretion to do so.

As always, it depends on the particular circumstances of each case.  An example where infidelity could be a factor might in a judge's decision to divide assets and/or set alimony in Connecticut is an instance where a husband defendant supported a girlfriend or formed a de-facto second family and systematically siphoned off/diluted marital assets/income over time.

Historically speaking, adultery was a serious allegation, and fault for a divorce played a role in the awarding of support or alimony and who received what assets of the marital estate. Nowadays, in most states the existence of adultery doesn’t really impact divorces cases at all. Family Judges do not measure/meter out moral authority or play the role condemning a cheater spouse. While they may feel sympathy for the cheated upon spouse, they are no suppose to let those feelings guide the resolution of a case.

Instead, Connecticut Courts look to focus and make a determination on the equities involved. They consider who contributed what to the family. They also consider how the result should get divided without considering “punishment” as a factor.

In Connecticut, cheating doesn’t really “matter” in the big picture – there are usually more compelling and substantive legal arguments on which to focus and make.

 

No, you (the parties) do not have to appear in Connecticut Court to get a Uncontested Divorce.

The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch recently announced that uncontested divorces will be permitted remotely, without the requirement of physical presence in court. This is significant given the current status of court closures because it means that if you have reached agreement with your spouse.

Until recently, physically appearing in family court before a judge was required to finalize a divorce and obtain a court ordered Divorce Decree.

As a result of government office shutdowns and disruptions due to COVID-19, the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch revised is procedure to allow "Final Judgments" and "Orders" as to Separation Agreements and other agreements related to Divorce and Family Law cases without requiring the parties (or their counsel) to appear in Court.

Accordingly, the following type of actions can be accepted and heard "on the papers":

  • Divorce or Legal Separation (Uncontested) -- including Uncontested Divorces filed online (see - What is the procedure (in Connecticut) for filing an Online, Uncontested Divorce?)
  • Custody / Visitation Agreements
  • Motion / Groups of Motions

Divorcing parties must be very careful when utilizing this process as there are specific documents that must be filed with the Court prior to the Court’s consideration of the Application for Approval without Appearance.  The Connecticut Judicial Branch has developed specific forms that must be utilized if an Agreement is to be approved without the presence of the parties. The type of form depends on the case or action to be disposed of and the Connecticut Judicial Branch has developed a website specifically outlining which forms are for which category of case.

See our May 5, 2002 Blog regarding this subject:  Family Court Orders accepted "On the Papers"

What is the procedure (in Connecticut) for filing an Online, Uncontested Divorce?

The Connecticut Judicial Branch has now made it possible to meet the legal requirements of an uncontested divorce online by requiring Affidavits to be filed (Affidavit in Support of Entry of Divorce Judgment, Plaintiff or Defendant) in lieu of in-person testimony, and a Request for Approval of Final Agreement Without Court Appearance.

To proceed with an uncontested divorce, a fully executed Separation Agreement and sworn Financial Affidavits (from both parties) must be e-filed with the court, and if applicable, the following:

  • Child Support Guidelines;
  • An Affidavit Concerning Children;
  • Advisement of Rights;

Until recently (prior to COVID-19), the parties and counsel were required to personally appear before a judge for an uncontested hearing for approval and entry of the Separation Agreement as final orders of the court, but now it can be done remotely, "on the papers."

Can I get a Divorce (Uncontested) in Connecticut without appearing in court?

Yes, it is possible to get a Connecticut Divorce (Uncontested) without appearing in family court.

The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch recently announced that uncontested divorces will be permitted remotely, without the requirement of physical presence in court. This is significant given the current status of court closures because it means that if you have reached agreement with your spouse.

Until recently, physically appearing in family court before a judge was required to finalize a divorce and obtain a court ordered Divorce Decree.

As a result of government office closures, courthouse shutdowns and limited operations schedule due to COVID-19, the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch revised is procedure to allow "Final Judgments" and "Orders" as to Separation Agreements and other agreements related to Divorce and Family Law cases without requiring the parties (or their counsel) to appear in Court.

Accordingly, the following type of actions can be accepted and heard "on the papers":

Divorce or Legal Separation (Uncontested) -- including Uncontested Divorces that are filed online --  (see: What is the procedure (in Connecticut) for filing an Online, Uncontested Divorce?)
Custody / Visitation Agreements
Motion / Groups of Motions

Divorcing parties must be very careful when utilizing this process as there are specific documents that must be filed with the Court prior to the Court’s consideration of the Application for Approval without Appearance.  The Connecticut Judicial Branch has developed specific forms that must be utilized if an Agreement is to be approved without the presence of the parties. The type of form depends on the case or action to be disposed of and the Connecticut Judicial Branch has developed a website specifically outlining which forms are for which category of case.

See our May 5, 2002 Blog regarding this subject:  Family Court Orders accepted "On the Papers"

 

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