Westport Divorce Attorney
Divorce Firm Serving Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Stamford, Weston, Wilton and Norwalk Counties
Divorce is often a time of indecision, uncertainty, stress, and confusion. The process calls for making critical decisions about some of the most important areas of your life, including your children, finances, family home, investments, pets and more. Often, the negotiations needed to arrive at these decisions occur while emotions run high. Furthermore, you may have little understanding of Connecticut divorce and family laws and how they will impact your particular situation.
Why Hire Our Westport Divorce Lawyers
The importance of having a trusted legal advisor throughout this process cannot be overstated, especially when child custody, high net worth, or complex property issues are involved. However, everyone going through a divorce should have the information needed to make sound decisions that could have consequences well into the future.
Rutkin, Oldham & Griffin has been a stable and leading legal resource in the practice of divorce and family law for clients throughout Connecticut since 1982. Our attorneys are well known for strategic thinking, extensive experience, and a dedicated team approach.
Thinking about divorce or facing current difficult divorce issues? Contact Rutkin, Oldham & Griffin online or by calling (203) 428-4476 to book a consultation.
Divorce in Connecticut
A divorce in Connecticut is commenced when whoever is seeking the divorce (called the plaintiff) files the “complaint” with the court. This document requests that the marriage be dissolved and provides a few details to the court, such as the grounds for the divorce, whether children are involved, and more.
Residency requirements for a Connecticut divorce are that at least one spouse has lived in the state for the previous 12 months or will have lived in the state for the 12 months preceding the entry of a judgment of divorce.
Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First in Connecticut?
No, it does not matter who files for divorce in Connecticut, but the spouse who eventually files must pay the court filing fee and the marshal fee for service of the divorce paperwork on your spouse.
How to Get a Divorce in Connecticut
To get a divorce in Connecticut, there are specific legal procedures that must be followed. Here's a general guide on how to initiate and navigate the divorce process in the state:
Before filing for divorce in Connecticut, either you or your spouse must meet the state's residency requirement. At least one of you must have lived in Connecticut for at least 12 months before the divorce petition is filed.
Grounds for Divorce:
Connecticut offers both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. The no-fault ground is the "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage," which means the marriage has broken down irretrievably and cannot be repaired. Alternatively, fault-based grounds may include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or substance abuse.
File the Divorce Complaint:
To initiate the divorce process, the spouse seeking the divorce (the plaintiff) must file a Divorce Complaint with the appropriate Superior Court. The Complaint should state the grounds for divorce and outline any specific requests related to property division, alimony, child custody, and support.
Serve the Complaint:
After filing the Divorce Complaint, the plaintiff must serve the divorce papers to the other spouse (the defendant). Proper service ensures that the defendant is aware of the divorce proceedings and has an opportunity to respond.
Connecticut imposes a mandatory 90-day waiting period from the date the Complaint is served before the divorce can be finalized. This waiting period allows both parties to work on the terms of the divorce and reach a settlement agreement.
Negotiate and Mediate:
During the waiting period, both spouses may engage in negotiation and mediation to resolve issues related to property division, alimony, child custody, and support. Mediation is encouraged to foster an amicable resolution, but if an agreement cannot be reached, the court will decide on contested issues.
Finalizing the Divorce:
Once the waiting period has passed, and if both parties have reached an agreement, a stipulated divorce judgment is prepared and submitted to the court. If there are contested issues, a trial may be scheduled to resolve these matters. After the court reviews the documents and is satisfied with the arrangements, the divorce is finalized.
Given the complexity of divorce proceedings, it's advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney in Connecticut. A knowledgeable Westport divorce attorney from Rutkin, Oldham & Griffin can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and ensure that your interests are represented during this challenging time.
Uncontested Divorce in Connecticut
An uncontested divorce requires that you and your spouse reach an agreement on all of the many factors related to the dissolution of your marriage. Therefore, it is highly advisable that you understand these issues in terms of how Connecticut divorce law relates to your situation and how courts view them. This is why it is vital to seek the counsel of an experienced and trusted divorce lawyer who has practiced in your area.
These factors include:
- Child custody and visitation/parenting plans
- Child support
- Equitable division and distribution of property and debt
- Alimony/spousal support
When you and your spouse can forge an agreement on your own concerning the issues pertinent to your case, that agreement can then be submitted to the court for approval. When you cannot, the court will decide. A judge will review all aspects of your financial situation, parenting ability, children's needs, what each spouse has contributed to the marriage, and more in deciding on the above issues.
No-Fault vs Fault-Based Divorce in CT
Connecticut provides no-fault as well as fault-based grounds for divorce. Nearly all cases are resolved as no fault cases. Occasionally, though, the facts of a case warrant asking the court to consider fault grounds for divorce. These grounds include adultery, willful desertion, fraud, alcoholism, extreme cruelty, conviction/incarceration for certain crimes, and mental illness leading to being held in a mental hospital.
Even when the grounds for obtaining a divorce are not at issue, the "cause of the breakdown" of the marriage is one of many factors the court must consider in resolving any disputes which the parties cannot resolve themselves. This is why you will hear people discuss the other spouse’s misdeeds and “faults”.
Proven & Trusted Divorce Representation in Westport
At our firm, we offer creative strategies and think long-term to put you in the best position possible. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in litigation, mediation and arbitration. The firm is technologically proficient. Since the pandemic began, we have conducted one remote custody trial which lasted more than 10 weeks, as well as many, shorter, remote hearings, depositions and conferences.
Set up your case evaluation by contacting us online or at (203) 428-4476 today.
We understand that no two family law cases are alike. While our clients may be going through similar processes, each case brings a different set of circumstances involving family dynamics, personal histories, financial matters, specific legal needs, emotional challenges, and more. What works for one client may not work for you. We approach each case by taking the time to thoroughly understand all of the details of your unique situation. Our strategies can then be thoughtfully tailored to serve your specific goals and purposes.