The breakdown of a marriage can be a stressful process. Part of that stress is because it is full of the unknown. Gaining familiarity with the process can help you feel more comfortable. Once you know what to expect, you have a better idea if the process is going as it should. It will also give you a better idea of the timeline. A knowledgeable divorce attorney at our firm can provide case-specific advice about the divorce process in Milford.
Either party can file for divorce in Connecticut. It starts with filing a Dissolution of Marriage or divorce complaint in the Superior Court. Currently, there is a $360 fee to file the complaint.
The person filing for divorce—the plaintiff—must provide documentation to verify both parties, the date of the marriage, where the marriage occurred, and proof that the spouses have ties to Connecticut.
Next, the plaintiff must cite a reason for the divorce listed in the Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-40(c). However, they do not have to assign blame to either partner—the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship is an acceptable reason for divorce.
Suppose the parties have children—biological or adoptive—under the age of 23. In that case, the plaintiff must list them in the divorce complaint. If there are any prior orders regarding custody or child support, the complaint should include them, too.
The summons is an essential part of the complaint. It provides notice to the other spouse—the defendant—to file an appearance with the Superior Court. The plaintiff can get a default judgment if the defendant does not file an appearance. Otherwise, the divorce process in Milford takes at least four months, even for simple divorces, absent an agreement by both parties paired with the filing of a waiting period waiver.
Once the court opens the divorce case, it becomes a matter of public record. In addition, Connecticut’s automatic orders take effect. Neither party can:
In addition, the orders require the spouses to take specific steps. They must complete financial affidavits, attend a case management conference, inform the other party of address changes, assist children in contacting the other parent, and participate in a parenting education program.
Of course, there are some circumstances where the automatic court orders may be dangerous. For example, if there are allegations of domestic violence in the marriage, sharing the marital home or providing updated address information could be unsafe. In those instances, a diligent family law attorney can petition the court to deviate from the automatic orders that are a standard part of the Milford divorce process.
Ideally, the parties will agree on a case management plan. The plan sets deadlines for the evidence collection, discovery, and parenting studies. If the parties cannot agree, the court will set up the case management plan.
While each party gathers more information, they should be negotiating a divorce settlement. If they cannot agree, they can seek help through pretrial sessions or mediation. The goal is an amicable resolution for both parties. In those cases, the court approves the settlement in a final hearing.
Not every couple can reach an amicable settlement. In those instances, the case will go to trial. In a trial, each party will present evidence and arguments for their proposed property division, child custody, and child support.
Every divorce is different. Some are simple and amicable. Others are difficult and acrimonious. However, a divorce does not have to be dramatic to be overwhelming. The breakdown of a marriage can be a highly emotional time, leaving people vulnerable. Our experienced lawyers can help you with the divorce process in Milford. They can advise you about your property division and custody rights. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.