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Connecticut Divorce Laws

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Connecticut Divorce Laws

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE:

A decree dissolving a marriage or granting a legal separation may be entered if: (1) One of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for at least the twelve months next preceding the date of the filing of the complaint or next preceding the date of the decree; or (2) one of the parties was domiciled in this state at the time of the marriage and returned to this state with the intention of permanently remaining before the filing of the complaint; or (3) the cause for the dissolution of the marriage arose after either party moved into this state. The Superior Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all complaints seeking a decree of annulment, dissolution of a marriage or legal separation. [Based on Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-42 , 46b-44]

LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE:

A decree of dissolution of a marriage or a decree of legal separation shall be granted upon a finding that one of the following causes has occurred:

  1. The marriage has broken down irretrievably.
  2. The parties have lived apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous period of at least the eighteen months immediately prior to the service of the complaint and that there is no reasonable prospect that they will be reconciled.
  3. Adultery
  4. Fraudulent contract.
  5. Fillful desertion for one year with total neglect of duty.
  6. Seven years’ absence, during all of which period the absent party has not been heard from.
  7. Habitual intemperance.
  8. Intolerable cruelty.
  9. Sentence to imprisonment for life or the commission of any infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty and punishable by imprisonment for a period in excess of one year;.
  10. Legal confinement in a hospital or hospitals or other similar institution or institutions, because of mental illness, for at least an accumulated period totaling five years within the period of six years next preceding the date of the complaint.

[Based on Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-40(c)]

LEGAL SEPARATION:

Residency requirements and grounds for a legal separation are the same as for a decree of dissolution of marriage. If no declaration resuming the marital relationship has been filed, then at any time after the entry of a decree of legal separation, either party may petition the superior court for the judicial district in which the decree was entered for a decree dissolving the marriage and the court shall enter the decree in the presence of the party seeking the dissolution. [Based on Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-40(c), 46b-42 , 46b-44, 46-b65]

SIMPLIFIED OR SPECIAL DIVORCE PROCEDURES:

Stipulation of parties and finding of irretrievable breakdown. (a) In any action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation the court shall make a finding that a marriage breakdown has occurred where (1) the parties, and not their attorneys, execute a written stipulation that their marriage has broken down irretrievably, or (2) both parties are physically present in court and stipulate that their marriage has broken down irretrievably and have submitted an agreement concerning the custody, care, education, visitation, maintenance or support of their children, if any, and concerning alimony and the disposition of property. The testimony of either party in support of that conclusion shall be sufficient. [Based on Connecticut General Statutes Annotated; Title 46b-51].

MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS:

On or after the return day of a complaint seeking the dissolution of a marriage or a legal separation and prior to the expiration of the ninety-day period specified in section 46b-67 either spouse or the counsel for any minor children of the marriage may submit a request for conciliation to the clerk of the court. A program of mediation services for persons filing for dissolution of marriage may be established in such judicial districts of the Superior Court as the Chief Court Administrator may designate. Mediation services shall address property, financial, child custody and visitation issues.

The court shall order participation in a parenting education program whenever a minor child is involved in such action unless (1) the parties agree, subject to the approval of the court, not to participate in such program, (2) the court, on motion, determines that participation is not deemed necessary, or (3) the parties select and participate in a comparable parenting education program. [Based on Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-53, 46b-53a, 46b-69b]

PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION:

Connecticut is an equitable distribution state. The Superior Court may assign to either the 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 such real property, without any act by either the husband or the wife, when in the judgment of the court it is the proper mode to carry the decree into effect.

In fixing 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 length of the marriage, the causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income. The court shall also consider the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates. [Based on Connecticut General Statutes Annotated; Title 46b- 81].

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