A divorce involves unraveling a couple’s legal and financial ties. Sometimes, one spouse’s conduct leads to a decision to divorce, and sometimes, both partners agree the marriage is not working. Whatever your specific circumstances, a no-fault divorce is worth considering.

A no-fault divorce is available even if one spouse has grounds to ask for a fault-based divorce. A no-fault divorce is less adversarial, more private, and can help preserve a civil environment when there are children involved, but there could be financial implications. Before deciding whether to cite fault-based grounds, you should discuss your legal options with an experienced attorney.

A Hartford no-fault divorce lawyer can explain the no-fault divorce process, help you weigh your alternatives, and support you throughout your divorce proceedings.

No-Fault Divorce Fundamentals

A divorcing couple must cite a reason for the divorce. The law provides numerous fault-based grounds, including adultery, abandonment, cruelty, and others. When a spouse cites a fault-based ground, an attorney must offer proof of the misconduct.

Proving spousal fault can add time to the divorce process, increase the expense, and heighten animosity. For couples hoping to avoid those consequences, Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-40 offers two no-fault grounds for divorce that a couple could consider:

  • The couple has lived separately for at least 18 months
  • The marriage is irretrievably broken

Spouses do not need to agree on all issues or even the need to dissolve the marriage to cite a no-fault ground.

When a spouse cites separation as the grounds for divorce, they must prove they have lived separately and not engaged in sexual relations with their spouse for the past 18 months. A spouse claiming the marriage is irretrievably broken does not need proof—the fact that one spouse believes the marriage cannot be saved is sufficient proof the couple will not reconcile. A lawyer in Hartford can help a person determine the best path for their no-fault divorce.

No-Fault Does Not Mean Uncontested

Although a couple seeking a no-fault divorce does not have to prove marital misconduct, a no-fault divorce could still be complex and contentious. A couple must decide on property division issues and make arrangements for co-parenting their children before a judge can issue a final divorce decree.

Sometimes couples are on the same page on all issues, have relatively simple finances, and either have no minor children or agree on a parenting plan. In such cases, the couple could seek an uncontested divorce and present their agreements to a judge, who reviews them and issues a divorce decree if all is in order.

Many no-fault divorces are contested. A spouse cites a no-fault ground for dissolution of the marriage, but the couple disagrees about property division or alimony or has not developed an acceptable parenting plan. A no-fault divorce attorney in Hartford can refer the couple to mediation, negotiate with the other spouse’s legal representative, or litigate the disagreements in court if necessary.

Sometimes Citing Fault Offers an Advantage

Although a no-fault divorce offers many advantages, when a fault-based ground exists, it may make sense to cite it in some cases. For example, if a spouse spent marital assets on a romantic relationship outside the marriage, the other spouse could receive more in a property settlement.

When there are minor children, citing fault could help persuade a judge to limit the contact with a parent who is physically violent, emotionally abusive, or has a problem with substance abuse. When a parent could prove the other spouse poses a danger to the children, a judge might order supervised contact with that parent.

In many cases, a Hartford lawyer can negotiate agreements that acknowledge the reality of marital misconduct without citing fault in the divorce papers. This is often the best solution, as it accomplishes the same goal as citing fault without the stress and loss of privacy associated with proving marital misconduct in court.

Consult a Hartford Attorney About No-Fault Divorce

The ground you cite when seeking dissolution of your marriage impacts the entire divorce process. It is wise to gain a clear understanding of your options before taking the first step.

A Hartford no-fault divorce lawyer can listen to your goals and explain how you can achieve them while citing a no-fault ground for divorce. Call now to discuss your situation.

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