The breakdown of a marriage is never easy even in cases where divorce may be the right solution. A couple seeking to dissolve their marriage must follow the process set out in Connecticut’s statutes. A skilled attorney can help those looking to effectuate their divorce correctly and as efficiently as possible.
Any mistakes made in the pleading, discovery negotiation or settlement phases of the process can push out the ultimate dissolution of your marriage. Working with experienced legal counsel reduces the chances of a negative outcome and can help you avoid unnecessary delays. Let an attorney advise you on the Guilford divorce process.
A couple must satisfy certain statutory requirements before a court will issue a divorce order, including residency requirements and grounds for divorce. For a judge to issue a divorce decree, one or both spouses must have been residents of Connecticut for at least one year. This can be either the person filing for divorce or their spouse.
Additionally, the party filing for divorce must have specific reasons. However, Connecticut is a no-fault state, meaning it does not require the filing spouse to make the case the other party was at fault. Instead, the filing spouse needs only to allege the marriage has broken down irretrievably. Both parties do not have to agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Even if the non-filing spouse disagrees, one spouse claiming they cannot save a marriage is usually enough to secure a divorce decree.
Once a Guilford couple meets all the qualifications, the next step is to initiate the process by filing a complaint for divorce. The plaintiff initiates a lawsuit seeking an order dissolving the marriage and other relief, including equitable distribution of assets, child support, custody and/or alimony. The complaint should lay out the grounds for divorce and outline the satisfaction of all statutory requirements.
Once drafted, the initial pleadings must be served and thereafter submitted to the court. There are typically fees when filing a divorce complaint unless the filer can qualify for a financial waiver.
Service of process means formally notifying another party of the commencement of the legal action. The person that files for divorce must serve a copy of the complaint to their spouse before the case can move forward. In Connecticut, State marshals are required to effectuate service. This is a crucial step in the divorce process in Guilford. A divorce cannot proceed until both parties are aware of the legal action.
After the initiation of the court case, the parties are provided opportunities to use the Family Relations office, and other court resources, to attempt to settle any disputes. In the event the parties are unable to arrive at an uncontested agreement, there must be an evidentiary trial before the court can issue a divorce decree. During the trial the court will address and resolve any contested issues, from disputes over the validity of the divorce to challenges over marital property.
Often with the assistance of legal counsel, each side presents evidence on the issue in dispute, and the judge balances the evidence against statutory factors in ultimately issuing an order as to all financial and custody matters. A judge’s decision is typically the culmination of a Guilford couples divorce process, although in highly contested cases there may be post judgment motions or appeals that follow.
When both parties are in agreement as to the terms of their divorce, the parties can proceed with an uncontested hearing, or seek the court enter orders on the papers without the need for either party to appear in court.
The Guilford divorce process might seem intimidating. The good news is an attorney can handle every aspect of your divorce case from start to finish. Relying on legal counsel can give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Reach out as soon as possible for your confidential consultation.