Uncontested Divorce in Connecticut
The complexity of each divorce process significantly depends on whether parties manage to agree on divorce terms.
- If spouses fail to reach an agreement on major divorce issues, such as child custody, spousal support, division of marital property, and so on, they will have to go through a contested divorce. This type of divorce can be considered extremely complicated and stressful, as it is associated with long, drawn-out court battles.
- In an uncontested divorce, partners agree on all of the issues required to end their marriage. Considering that this way of terminating marriage does not require examining the evidence and resolving divorce-related matters, it is less expensive and time-consuming than traditional marriage dissolution. In the end, it is the most favorable option used by Connecticut residents to terminate their marriages.
Get Your Divorce Forms Completed Online
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Currently, Connecticut courts may require divorcing couples to submit the following documents:
- Summons Family Actions (JD-FM-3)
- Divorce Complaint/Cross Complaint (JD-FM-159)
- Notice of Automatic Orders (JD-FM-158)
- Affidavit Concerning Children (JD-FM-164)
- Case Management Agreement/Order (JD-FM-163)
- Financial Affidavit (JD-FM-6) – Long
- Financial Affidavit (JD-FM-6) – Short
- Dissolution Agreement (JD-FM-172)
- Child Support Guideline Worksheet (CCSG -1)
- Advisement of Rights (JD-FM-71)
- Affidavit Concerning Military Service (JD-FM-178)
Steps for Filing a Divorce in Connecticut
To file for divorce in Connecticut, divorcing couples should follow several essential steps.
To be eligible to initiate the divorce process in Connecticut, the following residency requirements should be fulfilled:
- At least one spouse must have been a legal resident of the state for a minimum of 12 months preceding the date of the filing for divorce or preceding the date of the decree.
A decree dissolving a marriage can also be entered if:
- one of the partners lived in Connecticut at the time of the marriage and moved back permanently before filing for divorce, or
- the cause of the split arose after either party moved into Connecticut.
Unlike many other states, Connecticut accepts both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce.
To establish a no-fault divorce, it is enough to testify that:
- The marriage has broken down irretrievably, and there's no chance for reconciliation.
- Spouses have lived separate and apart because of incompatibility for a continuous period of at least 18 months before the Connecticut divorce papers are filed.
When it comes to fault-based grounds, they include any of the following:
- fraudulent contract;
- willful desertion for at least one year ;
- a minimum of seven years absence from the marriage;
- drug or alcohol abuse;
- intolerable cruelty;
- imprisonment of one spouse (under certain conditions); and
- a spouse's mental illness, in which they are legally confined to a mental institution for at least five years within the six years before the start of the divorce case.
To initiate the divorce procedure, the plaintiff should take all the divorce forms to the superior court clerk's office in the judicial district where one of the spouses lives.
Divorce Papers in Connecticut
Each divorce case requires a unique set of forms to be submitted to the court. However, the primary Connecticut divorce papers needed for each couple are as follows:
- Divorce Complaint/Cross Complaint;
- Summons Family Actions;
- Notice of Automatic Orders form; and
- Affidavit Concerning Children (if minor children are involved).
Considering the personal circumstances of each couple, the court may require soon-to-be-ex spouses to submit additional papers to initiate the divorce case. To ensure that necessary forms are prepared and filed, partners can contact the local court clerk.
To file divorce papers with the local court, the plaintiff should pay a mandatory filing fee of $350 in Connecticut. Besides, there is an additional $50 payment for the service of the court papers. If parents are required to join a parenting education class, it will cost $125. Simply put, the final cost of initiating divorce varies from case to case in the state.
Usually, Connecticut courts imply a 90 day waiting period before the divorce can be granted. However, if the couple fully agrees on divorce-related issues, they can ask the court to waive this waiting period. This option is often suitable for divorce mediation cases and collaborative divorces.
Following Connecticut law, a State Marshal must serve the defendant with the divorce documents. Once all the forms are served, the marshal will prepare a document called a "Return of Service" (proof that the papers were served). This paper should be filed with the court along with the full packet of other divorce paperwork.
Presently, there are two ways to finalize the divorce in Connecticut: through an agreement between both spouses or after a trial in front of the judge.
- Couples going through an uncontested divorce should come to court with completed forms on their divorce hearing date. The judge will review the entire list of documents and finalize the divorce (unless it violates some provision of the law).
- Parties seeking contested divorce will have to attend a court hearing scheduled by the judge and present evidence. The divorce process will not be finalized unless each divorce issue is resolved.
Getting a Divorce With Children
To address all child-related issues, the court may ask the couple to submit an additional list of documents, such as:
- Dissolution Agreement;
- Child Support Guideline Worksheet;
- Advisement of Rights; and
- Parenting Education Program Order, Certificate, and Results.
In an uncontested divorce, child custody is based on the parties' agreement. If partners fail to address child support and child custody issues, the judge will do it on their own according to the child's best interests. When deciding about awarding joint or sole custody to either parent, the judge will take into account the following factors, including:
- the child's age;
- each parent's financial status;
- each parent's ability to be actively involved in the child's life;
- each parent's physical and mental health;
- the child's past and current relationship with each parent and other family members;
- the child's adjustment to home, school, and community;
- the parents' wishes for custody; and
- the child's personal preferences.
There's a preference for joint custody in Connecticut. However, the judge may consider awarding sole custody to a certain parent if this option provides more stability and safety for the child.
For example, before awarding both legal and physical custody, the judge carefully examines presented evidence to make sure the child does not experience abuse or physical violence from any parent. In case at least one parent poses a danger to psychological and/or physical well-being of the child, the judge will most likely award sole custody to the other parent. Also, local courts pay a vast amount of attention to the history of substance abuse.
In the context of child support, both parents are obligated to support their children financially in Connecticut. This state follows the "Income Shares Model," which means that children should receive the same amount of financial support that they would have received if the parents lived together. The exact amount of child support payment depends on the number of children involved and each parent's income.
Filing for Divorce in Connecticut Without a Lawyer
Residents of Connecticut going through uncontested divorces can easily end their marriage with limited legal advice or without it at all. Instead, divorcing couples can settle all their disputed issues through mediation, which is less expensive than litigation and allows parties to reduce the stress and conflicts. In divorce mediation, the spouses meet with a trained, neutral mediator who helps them negotiate and reach mutually beneficial outcomes. And then, when the spouses have prepared their Dissolution Agreement can use affordable online divorce services to complete all the required legal forms. In essence, the do-it-yourself divorce option helps save a lot of time and money, so it is so popular in the state.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Connecticut
The DIY divorce refers to the process of preparing divorce paperwork over the Internet without the aid of an attorney. In this type of divorce, people take full responsibility for the accurateness of completed papers, although they can also use the assistance of online divorce providers, such as DivorceOnline.
This online platform helps people prepare divorce forms without delays and extra costs, making it a perfect alternative to hiring a family law attorney. So, people seeking an inexpensive divorce frequently consider this option.
Apart from this, the Connecticut Judicial Branch website maintains a divorce self-help platform for people going through a DIY divorce.
Frequently Asked Questions:
On average, the uncontested divorce process takes around four months, whereas the length of contested divorces can reach over a year due to a variety of divorce-related issues that should be resolved.
In addition to a mandatory filing fee ($350), payment for service of the court papers ($50), and parenting education class ($125), some divorcing couples hire an attorney ($200-500 per hour) or use online divorce services (starting from $139). So, the total cost of an uncontested divorce differs from case to case.
If paying court fees is a considerable financial hardship for the spouses, they can ask the court to waive the fees by filing an Application For Waiver of Fees/Appointment of Counsel Family Form. The judge will review this document and waive the fees if appropriate evidence is provided.
Required divorce papers differ from case to case, although basic forms needed to file for divorce in Connecticut include:
- Summons Family Actions
- Divorce Complaint/Cross Complaint
- Notice of Automatic Orders
- Affidavit Concerning Children
- Case Management Agreement Form
- Financial Affidavits
- Marital Settlement Agreement
- Dissolution Agreement
- Child Support Guideline Worksheet
- Advisement of Rights
- Affidavit Concerning Military Service
Before submitting any documents to the court, divorcing spouses should check whether all the necessary forms are completed. To ensure nothing is missed, it is essential to contact the local court clerk.