When a couple decides to dissolve their marriage, they must follow a legal process to make their divorce official. Failing to take the correct legal steps can delay a divorce and add unnecessary aggravation and expense.

A couple that decides to end their marriage should consult a seasoned attorney about filing for divorce in Guilford. It is important for a couple to understand the legal requirements, how to comply with them, and the consequences of non-compliance, and how it applies to their particular circumstances

A Divorcing Couple Must Meet Residency Requirements

Anyone who has established residency in Connecticut may file for divorce here. A person establishes residency by maintaining a permanent home and living in it at least 183 days out of a year. A filing couple in Guilford could comply with all applicable requirements, but a judge will only issue the divorce decree when one spouse has lived in Connecticut for 12 months.

If a couple lived in the state when they were married and returned intending to remain permanently, they could file for divorce here. If the grounds for divorce occurred within the state, a Connecticut court can oversee the divorce. Active-duty military personnel stationed elsewhere are state residents if they lived here before deployment.

Divorce Filing Procedure

The marriage dissolution process could be contested, uncontested, or non-adversarial. Each approach has different filing requirements.

Non-Adversarial Divorce

Connecticut General Statutes §46b-44a offers a streamlined divorce procedure for qualifying couples. The couple must have been married less than nine years, have no children together, and neither spouse can be pregnant. Neither spouse can own real estate, and the couple’s combined assets must be less than $80,000. Neither spouse may have a defined benefit pension plan or be in open bankruptcy proceedings. If there is an active restraining order or order of protection between the spouses, they do not qualify for a non-adversarial divorce.

Eligible couples must file a joint petition for non-adversarial divorce. At the same time, each spouse must file a financial disclosure form and an appearance form. If the couple has a settlement agreement, they file it with the petition.

Uncontested Divorce

If the spouses do not qualify for non-adversarial divorce but agree on all issues related to dissolving their marriage—property division, child custody, child support, and alimony—they can apply for an uncontested divorce. A couple must develop a written agreement covering all issues related to their marriage dissolution, and citing irreconcilable differences as their grounds for divorce.

A spouse submits the marital settlement to the court agreement along with:

  • Form JD-FM-159, the complaint for divorce
  • Form JD-FM-3, a summons
  • Notice of automatic orders preventing either spouse from taking actions impacting the other, such as emptying a joint bank account or moving out of state with the children
  • If the couple has minor children, they must submit an Affidavit Concerning Children, which asks for the children’s ages, places of residence over the past five years, and who the children have lived with over the past five years

The spouse who files the divorce complaint must officially serve the other spouse, but waiving service is possible. A judge will review the couple’s paperwork and analyze the parenting plan and child support arrangements to confirm they support the children’s best interests. If the parties are filing their divorce agreement within ninety days of filing, then they will also need to file a waiver of the statutory time period to permit the court to proceed with entering the divorce judgment.

Contested Divorce

If a couple does not agree on all relevant issues at the time of filing, they can seek a contested divorce. The divorce process begins when one spouse, the plaintiff, files a form called a divorce complaint (Form JD-FM-159), along with a summons, an Affidavit Concerning Children if the couple has minor children, and other documents. The other spouse is the defendant and must file their appearance within 30 days of the case’s “return date,” and, if they choose, an answer and/or cross-complaint in response.

Once the defendant has filed an answer, the discovery process begins. Both spouses seek information and testimony from the other about issues relevant to the marriage dissolution. The discovery process can extend for months or even longer if the couple has complex finances. Any resident filing for contested divorce should have representation from a Guilford attorney.

Trust an Attorney to Assist with Filing for Divorce in Guilford

If you and your spouse are divorcing, extensive information is available to help you through the process. However, even if you take advantage of one of Connecticut’s simplified divorce processes, consulting a legal professional is always a good idea. They can ensure you have all the proper documents filled out correctly to avoid unnecessary delays and hassles, which is cost-effective in the long run. Schedule a consultation today to discuss filing for divorce in Guilford.

Connecticut Family Lawyer | CT Family Law | Dolan Family Attorneys N/a
20 Water St UNIT 2A Guilford CT 06437 (203) 303-9371