All couples seeking to dissolve their marriage must follow the process codified in Connecticut’s family law statutes. To have the best chance at a favorable outcome, you will need to correctly navigate the court process and adequately assert your rights.
For a court to finalize a divorce, you must meet minimum eligibility requirements and serve your spouse legal notice of the case. If your marriage has broken down, let a seasoned attorney advise you on the Stamford divorce process.
A couple must meet specific requirements before a divorce can proceed. These qualifications include a residency requirement and grounds for divorce. To divorce in Connecticut, one of the spouses must have lived continuously in the state for the previous 12 months. This 12-month timeframe counts from the date the final decree is issued, meaning it is possible to file for divorce before reaching month 12. There are also some additional bases that might provide an avenue for divorce where a couple has been married less than a year but were residents at the time of their marriage, or where the breakdown of the marriage occurred after the parties moved to the state.
There must also be a reason for the divorce. The grounds are why one or both parties seek to end the marriage. Unlike some states, a spouse needs only to claim that the marriage has broken down and that there is no hope for reconciliation. This is commonly described as a “no-fault” divorce. An attorney in Stamford can explain these divorce requirements and the next steps in the process.
To initiate the divorce process in Stamford, one spouse must file the necessary pleadings in court. The complaint document begins a divorce case. The complaint indicates the basic information regarding the couple and formally asks a court to dissolve the marriage in addition to other financial relief and custody orders.
For the court to officially start the divorce process in Stamford, the person filing must first serve their spouse with a copy of the complaint and all accompanying pleadings. A marshal must effectuate in-hand or abode service. This step is necessary because it ensures a court does not dissolve a marriage without both parties being aware of the proceedings.
There is some flexibility in the rules when the non-filing spouse lives out of state. The regulations allow the filing spouse to serve these documents by mail if the court agrees. In some cases, it is also possible to serve by publishing an announcement in the paper. Best practices will always be to utilize a service processor, even if the other party resides in a different state, as only then can the court definitively say service was effectuated.
There must be a final hearing before a court can issue a divorce decree. Whether or not this hearing is contentious will depend on whether both spouses agree on the divorce terms. If the non-filing spouse chooses, they have the right to dispute the dissolution, although an attempt to fight the issuance of a divorce is futile so long as one party wants the divorce. More often than not, conflicts center not on the end of the marriage but the terms regarding child custody or property ownership. A lawyer in Stamford can protect an individual through this last step in the divorce process.
The Stamford divorce process can be long and complex, especially if you act without an attorney. Moving on with your life should be possible without high costs and drawn-out conflict. With the guidance of the right legal team, you could dissolve your marriage and focus on the next steps in your life. Reach out now to discuss your legal options.