Connecticut Contested Divorce Lawyer

Going through a divorce is difficult and can take a toll on a person’s emotional wellbeing. In most cases, the entire lives of two or more people are completely upended by the divorce. There are usually property concerns, child custody arrangements, division of assets, and a host of other worries to manage.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, this complicates matters even more. Navigating all of this on your own can be overwhelming. We are here to help. At Dolan Divorce Lawyers, our skilled divorce attorneys pride themselves on being accessible and approachable through the entire process. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with a Connecticut contested divorce lawyer.

What is a Contested Divorce?

When spouses cannot agree on terms for the divorce, it is considered a “contested divorce.” In these kinds of situations, the court often must help resolve disputes over:

If spouses can set aside the matter of fault, they may be able to save time and money on divorce and court fees. A skilled contested divorce attorney in Connecticut can help arrange a meeting with a mediator so that both parties come to an agreement early on in the process.

Differences Between Contested and Uncontested Divorces

There are significant differences between contested and uncontested divorces, as described below.

Contested Divorces

In a contested divorce, both parties may fail to agree on various issues, such as child support, division of property, and other concerns. They may also have disputes over visitation, family support, financial matters, and each other’s parenting ability.

Splitting assets can cause a lot of strife in a contested divorce. Each party may be required to retain the services of expert appraisers and accountants to resolve financial disputes. When children are involved in a contested divorce, there are many additional issues to consider. For child custody disagreements, each party may have to attend several court hearings to establish temporary custody, child support, and parenting agreements.

A contested divorce may require extensive financial discovery as well as depositions of both spouses, experts, or other third parties intended to be called as witnesses. Where a settlement cannot be reached, an evidentiary trial is needed, which will require the parties to provide testimony in open court. At the conclusion of the trial, a judge will weigh the evidence and make a final binding decision on division of assets and debts, alimony, custody and child support. Proceeding with a contested divorce ultimately takes the power out of the hands of the parties to have any say or control over what orders are entered, and puts full authority in the hands of the judge.

Uncontested Divorces

Uncontested divorces in Connecticut are resolved by way of a written divorce agreement. When spouses agree on the terms of their divorce, the uncontested process gives parties direct control over the ultimate disposition of their case. The written agreement must then be submitted to the judge who will determine if the terms are fair and equitable, and in the best interest of any children involved. Generally, judges give great discretion to parties to resolve their divorce on their own terms unless those terms are on their face unconscionable, would leave one party in need of public assistance or with vastly limited resources, or leave children financially unsupported or at risk.

In an uncontested divorce, both parties may complete their own paperwork or retain legal representation to handle the paperwork for them. Contested cases will often become uncontested, as spouses and their counsel are incentivized to avoid a costly trial where possible. Even where there has been extensive litigation, at any point before a judge issues a final binding order parties can agree to enter into a written agreement, allowing the case to be redefined as uncontested.

The State of Connecticut’s Stance on Divorces

While most divorces are ultimately settled, ensuing legal battles leading up to the agreement can be damaging to family relationships. Therefore, the state of Connecticut encourages parties to utilize resources offered by the Family Relations Office, or take advantage of alternative dispute resolution, to increase the likelihood of an uncontested agreement.

How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in Connecticut?

There is a 90-day statutory waiting period that goes into effect upon the filing of a contested divorce matter. Parties can either wait for the 90 days to pass before proceeding with an uncontested divorce agreement, or if they have an agreement in advance they can file a motion to waive the statutory time period.

A truly contested divorce often takes much longer than 90 days to resolve. A contested divorce can drag on for years, especially given the backlog in the courts resulting from the pandemic. Some districts are busier and more backlogged than others. A dedicated contested divorce lawyer in Connecticut can work with the court to ensure your case gets heard as efficiently as possible.

How to File for Divorce in Connecticut

The spouse that initiatesthe divorce case is called the “plaintiff.” The plaintiff must file the divorce pleadings in the judicial district where one or both of the spouses live. The pleadings consist of a summons and complaint, and additional court forms that must be filed in that district’s superior court.

The complaint must include:

  • The couple’s current living arrangements
  • Why the spouse is seeking a divorce
  • The names of any children produced from the marriage

In the complaint, the plaintiff will specify the relief they are asking the court grant, which may include:

  • A fair and equitable division of assets and debts
  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • Legal and physical custody
  • Restoration of a spouse’s previous name

Serving the Divorce Complaint

Usually, the state marshal serves the divorce complaint on the other party. The spouse receiving the complaint is referred to as the “defendant.” A Court Summons and a Notice of Automatic Court Orders will be included with the complaint.

Reach Out to a Connecticut Contested Divorce Attorney Today

Divorce is not only stressful emotionally, but it can put your assets and relationship with your children at risk. To help protect your interests, contact Dolan Divorce Lawyers today. We can answer your questions, explain your options, and help resolve your divorce as painlessly as possible. Our team understands that your time, resources, and finances are precious and will work tirelessly to bring your case to a resolution.

A Connecticut contested divorce lawyer at our firm understands Connecticut law and can handle the legal procedure, negotiations, and post-divorce arrangements on your behalf. Contact us today to get started on your case.

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