The divorce process is usually very stressful and creates a lot of pressure on both spouses. All the complicated legal procedures can become confusing and create questions about how to proceed with the divorce. It is one of the reasons why couples often seek legal advice from a professional attorney.
However, all states provide people with an opportunity to go through a divorce without an attorney. Such an option might be preferable by couples that want to save money. This article features information for spouses who are planning their divorce without a lawyer in Connecticut.
General Information Worth Knowing
Connecticut is known as the no-fault state. It means that when filing for divorce
, one or both partners can state that their marriage is irretrievably broken with no possibility for repair. It is a pretty common practice in other states as well.
The state law also recognizes at-fault grounds for divorce. They include:
● Desertion for at least 1 year;
● Legal separation
for a minimum of 18 months prior to filing the divorce petition;
● Absence for 7 years with no communication with the missing spouse;
● Fraudulent contract;
● Imprisonment for a felony conviction for at least 1 year;
● Physical and/or psychological abuse of the partner and/or children;
● Alcohol and/or drug abuse;
● Confinement of a partner to a mental hospital for a minimum of 5 years before filing for divorce.
How to Plan a Divorce
The section below features information about the crucial elements of the divorce process that should be integrated into one’s plan.
Discuss It With Your Partner
The first important step to consider is an honest discussion about divorce between partners. This way, spouses can loosely identify what type of divorce to apply to their specific case.
If partners have different stances on critical matters and are not able to find common ground, the divorce becomes contested. However, if they can agree on issues such as child custody, property division, etc., they can file for an uncontested divorce, which can be less complicated.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
Contested divorce often involves lawyers. They take care of all the legal procedures, but there are things to consider. Both spouses can expect lots of negotiations and court hearings. It pretty much ruins the premise of having a divorce plan. Even more, the judge’s final verdict might be unexpected for all parties involved.
An uncontested divorce is often a much more preferable scenario for couples. They are in full control of the whole process, and the judge does not interfere in the negotiations. State law in Connecticut allows partners to file for divorce without an attorney, saving them money.
Take Care of the Papers
After settling their differences, spouses can begin working on the divorce papers. The Connecticut Judicial Branch
website has sections dedicated to couples who want to do the paperwork by themselves.
Going through all the documents might be intimidating for the majority of people. That is why divorcees often use online divorce documents assistance companies to easily fill out all the papers online. Court-ready forms are generated in only a few business days. This service is much more affordable than hiring an attorney to do the paperwork.
File the Forms
The completed paperwork should be taken to the local clerk’s office. The clerk checks the papers, and if everything is in order, they assign a case number. It is possible at this time to ask them for the “Return Date.” This date determines when documents need to be served and filed to the court. With papers signed, you can move to the next step.
Serve the Paperwork
Connecticut does not provide many options for serving papers - they have to be delivered by a State Marshall. However, these services are not free. Yet, it is possible to request a waiver.
After delivering the papers, the Marshall prepares a document called “Return of Service” to be delivered to the court.
Spouses have to wait at least 90 days after the Return Date to receive a judgment. This waiting period is also called the “Case Management Date” in Connecticut. Couples often use it to reach an agreement on any conflicting matters, if any remain.
The Case Management Date period is also used to fill out the “Case Management Agreement” document. After both parties sign it and send it to the clerk, they can choose the date for their final hearing. If partners cannot agree on the date, they have to appear in court on the Case Management Date, and the judge sets the hearing date on their behalf.
Moreover, spouses have to complete the “Financial Affidavits” within 30 days of the Return Date. These forms include the partners’ sources of income, expenses, liabilities, and assets.
If a couple has children, they have to take a parenting education course within a 60-day window of the Return Date. It is possible to find court-approved courses in the clerk's office.
After all these steps are covered, it is possible to proceed to the final hearing. There are two ways: agreement and trial by a judge. The first one is simple: spouses agree on all the issues, come to court with their papers, and the judge reviews the case and declares a divorce. The second way is to have a judge review conflicts and evidence. Other hearings often follow until the judge settles everything with a final verdict.
Getting a divorce in Connecticut
can be more or less complicated. Everything depends on each individual case. Like any other state, an uncontested divorce is preferable, as it is possible to plan it from start to finish!