Divorce is a complex legal process involving division of assets and debts, child custody agreements, and spousal support. Attempting to navigate marital dissolution without the help of a skilled divorce attorney can hinder your chances of reaching a swift and favorable resolution with your partner. Consider retaining a lawyer to guide you through the New Haven divorce process.
Filing for divorce is an important step in the marital dissolution process. Those seeking to end their marriage must complete legal paperwork indicating the relief sought in their divorce. It is crucial that spouses properly plead whatever relief they might want to pursue, including things such as spousal support and legal custody.
Spouses in New Haven should file the divorce petition with the Superior Court on Church Street. Once the forms are submitted, the State Marshal will serve the other party. Once the spouse is served, the initiating party will file the case along with the return of service with the court.
At this point, the case is assigned a docket number, and the 90-day waiting period begins. This is the amount of time that must past before a court may legally enter a divorce decree.
Individuals in need of spousal or child support during this period may file pendente lite motions to obtain financial assistance. An attorney familiar with the divorce process can assist spouses in filing dissolution paperwork or pendente lite motions.
As part of a divorce, spouses must disclose all their income, assets and debts in a financial affidavit. Many people use the 90-day waiting period to complete this form and begin discussing a possible equitable division of property.
After both parties have exchanged affidavits, they can proceed with financial discovery. This is the process whereby spouses present bank statements and other financial documents detailing the assets listed in the affidavit. If at any point one party suspects the other has assets that have not been disclosed, they may hire experts to assist in determining what other assets might exist in that person’s name.
Additionally, spouses may request credit reports from the other party to establish outstanding lines of credit that the party may not have disclosed. A local divorce attorney can help individuals prepare an affidavit or seek additional information about their spouse’s assets during the financial discovery process.
Once the 90-day waiting period expires, spouses can participate in a pre-trial with the Office of Family Relations. This process serves as an opportunity to resolve the case before going to court.
Spouses attempting to reach a resolution before trial will meet with a Family Relations Officer. This person is a neutral party within the court system who hears each spouse’s position regarding issues such as division of assets, alimony, and child custody, and then provides a recommendation to resolve the case.
The recommendation of the Family Relations Officer remains confidential and is not admissible as evidence at any subsequent court hearing. If this pre-trial process is unsuccessful, there may be additional opportunities to resolve the divorce outside of court.
Following family relations pre-trial, spouses may be offered the option to participate in a Special Masters Pre-trial. During this process, two volunteer attorneys—one male and one female—meet with each spouse’s lawyer. Each party’s legal counsel will relay their client’s position concerning the main issues in the divorce. The volunteer attorneys will then offer a recommendation to resolve the case.
Further, spouses may elect for a judicial pre-trial. In these proceedings, each party states their case, and a judge gives a non-binding, confidential recommendation. Neither of these proposed resolutions can be admitted into evidence in future divorce proceedings.
If none of the pre-trials are successful, the spouses will proceed with a contested trial. During the litigation proceedings, each party will present evidence to the judge to support their proposed orders with respect to the division of debts and assets, alimony, custody, child support, and any other issues in their case.
A judge will consider the evidence presented by both parties and make a binding decision that will resolve the case. Retaining legal counsel for this process can improve one’s chances of receiving a favorable ruling in a divorce.
The level of emotion involved in a divorce can put a strain on everyone involved. However, there are specific factors that may further complicate the marital dissolution process. For example, where the parties share minor children they must develop a parenting plan that considers the children’s best interests, and determine legal and physical custody.
Additionally, spouses with stocks, mutual funds, and or shared businesses may need to spend more time in the financial discovery process. An attorney can anticipate these obstacles and help couples navigate a complex divorce.
If you are considering divorce, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Those who do not understand their marital rights may risk being taken advantage of during pre-trials or settlement negotiations.
A lawyer at our firm can advocate for you and work toward an equitable resolution to your case. Call our office today to discuss the New Haven divorce process with a dedicated legal professional.