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What are the nuts and bolts about divorce in Connecticut?

Until death do us part. This phrase, or one similar to it, has been repeated innumerable times since the institution of the marriage ceremony in modern times. However, these five words do not seem to carry the same weight as they once did. Unfortunately, in this modern era divorce has become a common place occurrence. Some states have attempted to make the process less destructive on the parties involved. In Connecticut, a person seeking to obtain a divorce does not have to prove that there are grounds for the divorce action. Connecticut is a no-fault state. The simplest explanation of this term is that a court may enter a judgment of dissolution (divorce) because one of the parties believes that the marriage has “broken down irretrievably and there is no reasonable prospect that the parties will be reconciled.”

Although the courts have tried to remove “fault” from the equation of the divorce process, it can not be entirely eliminated. Fault can be considered by courts in the awarding of alimony and the assignment of property. Fault in the breaking up of a marriage is more significant if it was substantial and is a significant contributing factor to the breakup of the marriage, or caused the wasting or loss of marital assets. Courts try to diminish the focus on “fault” and are more concerned with finances and other issues that can be handled in an equitable fashion.

Connecticut courts are given the task of dividing and distributing the property of the marriage. Our courts have been given the power by statute (Connecticut General Statutes §46b-81) to assign to either party in the divorce all or any part of the estate of the other. The statute is extremely broad in its definition of property. The definition of property includes marital property (acquired during the term of the marriage); premarital property (acquired prior to the date of the marriage); and inherited property, with consideration as to its source. Company pensions and 401-K’s come under the broad definition of property and, therefore, are subject to division and or assignment by a court.

Before making any distribution of any property there are several factors that all courts consider which are as follows:  (1) length of the marriage, (2) the cause of the dissolution (divorce), (3) the age of the respective parties, (4) the health of the parties involved in the divorce, (5) the station in life of the parties, (6) the occupations of each party, (7) the amount and sources of income available to the parties, (8) the vocational skills each party possesses, (9) their employability, (10) estate needs, (11) liabilities, (12) any special needs of either of the parties, (13) future earning capacity, (14) the prospects for acquisition, in the future, of assets and income.

The court may also consider the contribution of each party in the acquisition, appreciation and the preservation of the marital assets. Whatever assets are to be included in the marital estate are valued at the time of dissolution. The process of going through a divorce is difficult both emotionally and financially. No one should ever go through this very complicated and difficult process without fully understanding what are their rights and their responsibilities.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. See competent counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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