For most people, the choice to get a divorce comes after much deliberation and stress. Now that you have reached this point you probably want the easiest divorce available to you. Fortunately, getting divorced in Connecticut can be fairly straightforward. As long as you and your spouse are in agreement about everything, you can represent yourself and seek an uncontested divorce. You simply need to fill out the appropriate Connecticut divorce papers and file them with your county clerk.
However, if you and your spouse are not able to come to an agreement about important issues – such as the need to get divorced, how your property will be divided, what will happen with your children – you have a more difficult situation on your hands. The state courts requires you and your spouse to work these issues out before it can grant the divorce. If you cannot come to an agreement, the court will be forced to decide on terms it deems fair. Many times, letting the court decide results in terms that neither you nor your spouse will be happy with.
One of the least expensive options to work through differences with your spouse is to meet with a divorce mediator. If divorce mediation is not effective or not an option, the court will require you to present your case in front of a judge – just as your spouse will do. When you find yourself in this situation, it is highly advisable to hire a divorce lawyer. Keep in mind – the more issues that need to be argued by your attorney, the higher the cost will be to both you and your spouse.
Ideally, you and your spouse can come to an agreement on your own, allowing you to seek a simple and inexpensive divorce. The following information will help you understand divorce in Connecticut, and how you can begin the process on your own.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), indicates that the divorce rate in Connecticut in 2011 was 3.1 for every 1,000 residents. The rate in Connecticut remained fairly consistent from 1990 through 2011, placing the state in on the lower end of divorce rates in the United States..
Connecticut allows either fault-based or no-fault divorces. In a fault-based divorce, you must claim a grounds for divorce accepted by the state as the reason for the divorce, such as adultery. Most people choose to get a no-fault divorce, as it tends to be cheaper and faster than a fault-based divorce. A no-fault divorce also eliminates the need to bring up any embarrassing details in the divorce proceedings.
Connecticut has several different residency requirements for divorce. Either you or your spouse must have been a resident for at least 12 months before you file, or one of you must have been living in the state when you got married, then returned to live permanently before you filed. Lastly, you can file if the reason for divorce occurred while one of you was living there.
In Connecticut, the required divorce papers include two basic forms; the “Summons Family Actions (JD-FM-3)” and the “Divorce Complaint/Cross Complaint (JD-FM-159)”. The Summons form where you demonstrate that you have informed your spouse of the divorce proceedings, while the Complaint form is where you list all the information about the divorce – you and your spouse's information, as well as the reason for divorce. There may be several other divorce papers you need to fill out as well, depending on your individual circumstances.
The Connecticu Judicial Branch Law Libraries website offers many different guides about divorce in the state, and is worth looking over if you are considering divorce. You should also read the “Do It Yourself Divorce Guide”, published by the Judicial Branch of the State of Connecticut. Although it is long and detailed, it provides a lot of important information about filing for divorce in the state. If you are planning on representing yourself in your divorce – even if it is a simple, uncontested divorce – you want to be as well informed as you can be about the process. Being well informed will allow you to look out for your best interests.
When going through all of this material, it is only natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. There are a lot of options and legal terms that most people are not familiar with. For many people, seeking and online divorce preparation service is the easiest way to cut through the confusion and expedite the process. CompleteCase.com’s service provides the divorce papers required for your specific needs and helps you fill them out completely and accurately.
Now that you have completed your Connecticut divorce papers, you need to take them in to the Superior Court Clerk's office in the district where you or your spouse reside. Make sure to have copies of the documents, one for your records and one to serve to your spouse. You’ll be required to pay a state filing fee, and the clerk will give you a “Return Date” - which indicates when the documents must be filed and served.
The last step for filing is to serve your spouse. Connecticut requires you to hire a State Marshal to serve the documents, who will charge you a fee for the service. When your spouse is served, the Marshal will give you a “Return of Service” document, which you will file with the court. Once received, you will need to wait 90 days for the divorce to be finalized, during which you will complete and submit a “Case Management Agreement/Order (JD-FM-163). On this form you will choose the date for your divorce hearing, where the judge will verify that everything is in order and finalize the divorce.