Getting a divorce is not an easy decision. Atty. Raymond Ganim can help you protect your interests and he can answer your questions about divorce laws in Connecticut. Give us a call today at 203-377-7700.
Divorce in Connecticut
Connecticut is a no-fault divorce state. As a result, you don’t need to prove fault in order to obtain a divorce. Despite that fact, you may wish to allege and prove fault in the breakdown of your marriage in an effort to obtain a more favorable property distribution or support award. But at-fault divorces are generally not filed in the state of Connecticut.
If neither party caused the breakdown of your marriage, you may file a no-fault divorce. The no-fault divorce simply states that your marriage has broken down irretrievably, and you wish to get a divorce as a result. You will have to show that nothing can be done to fix your marriage, but you don’t have to blame your spouse for the divorce. In Connecticut, many people choose to file no-fault divorces.
Please keep in mind that if you do decide to file an at-fault divorce, the burden is on you to prove that the factor you list leading to the divorce did, in fact, occur. You will have to provide significant evidence in court to prove that your spouse is at fault for the divorce.
The following information applies to both at-fault and no-fault divorces in the State of Connecticut:
Dividing assets and debt
As soon as you realize that divorce is imminent, you should begin taking stock of your assets and debt. Some couples find that dividing assets and debt is the hardest part of the divorce, so you should be proactive about doing this. Understanding the division of your assets and debt is the first step in sorting this step of the divorce process out.
There are two types of property and debt you and your spouse have – marital property and separate property.
Marital property is any asset or property that you acquired with your spouse over the course of your marriage. For example, a house purchased at the beginning of your marriage would be considered marital property. Similarly, joint bank accounts and debt acquired over the course of your marriage are marital property. You and your spouse will both have claims on this type of property/debt.
Separate property consists of the assets and the debt that you or your spouse had before you got married. For example, if you purchased a car two years before your marriage, this is your own personal property. In the divorce, you have full claim to the car. Likewise, if you have student loans, a home, or other major assets/debts that you acquired before you were married, you and you alone will be entitled to this property in your divorce. The same goes for your spouse – you cannot try to take property that he or she bought before your marriage, just as you won’t be responsible for any debt that he or she acquired before you were married.
Equitable distribution law
When splitting up marital property, the state of Connecticut uses an equitable distribution law. This law allows for marital property to be divided between the parties involved in a way that is fair, but not necessarily equal. A court will take both of your personal finances into account when determining the distribution of marital property. For example, if you and your spouse have marital debt in the form of a mortgage, a judge may order the spouse that makes more money to pay more of the mortgage than the other spouse. Ultimately, property and debt are divided in relation to what each spouse can afford.
If you and your spouse cannot divide your property and debt on your own, the court will intervene. If possible, it is a good idea to divide your belongings without the assistance of the court. This is because court battles can become ugly, and you will lose control over the outcome of the situation when you give it to a judge. Of course, if you cannot communicate with your spouse, taking your case to court might be in your best interest.
For many couples, determining child custody is the most important factor in their divorce. It is important to note that every divorce is different. To understand the best option in your situation, you should give Atty. Raymond Ganim a call at 203-377-7700.
Just as with dividing assets and debt, if you and your spouse can work out child custody on your own, this is most likely in your best interest. If you and your spouse can communicate and do what is best for your child, there’s no need to start a custody battle. However, if you are unhappy with what your spouse is proposing, working with the judge can ensure that your child’s best interest is met.
Legal and physical custody
Legal custody refers to your ability to make legal decisions for your child. If you have legal custody of your child, you will be able to make decisions concerning your child’s religion, education, health, and more. In the absence of significant reasons, the determination of custody is always determined based on what is in the best interest of the child. The law presumes that joint custody is in the best interest of the minor child unless determined otherwise.
Physical custody refers to where your child lives. If you have physical custody, your child will be allowed to live with you for part or all of the year. Like legal custody, where the child resides is determined by what is in the best interest of the minor child.
Custody is also broken up into sole and joint custody
If you have sole custody of your child, it means that you and you alone can make decisions concerning your child. If you have sole legal custody, you can make legal decisions, and if you have sole physical custody, your child will be allowed to live with you and you alone.
In most cases, the state of Connecticut will award joint custody, which gives both parents legal and physical custody. If this is the case, you will have to make decisions with the child’s other parent regarding where he or she lives and what to do in legal situations. In the absence of significant reasons, the determination of custody is always determined based on what is in the best interest of the child. The law presumes that joint custody is in the best interest of the minor child unless determined otherwise.
Only in extreme cases is sole custody granted to one parent. The State of Connecticut recognizes the importance of having both a mother and father in a child’s life. Only if it is determined that one parent abused or neglected the child will sole custody be awarded to the deserving parent.
If you are not awarded physical custody in your divorce, you might still be granted visitation rights. This will allow you to see your child during regular, supervised visits. Visitations will be planned at the discretion of the court and the parent who has sole physical custody.
If you are the non-custodial parent in your divorce, meaning that your child primarily lives with his or her other parent, you will be required to pay child support. The purpose of child support is to help maintain your child’s standard of living now that he or she lives in a home with one instead of two incomes. The parent with primary custody of the child does not have to pay child support because he or she provides for the child regularly.
Child support is almost always a fixed amount of money paid to take care of and support your child. You must pay child support until your child graduates from high school, or until he or she turns 18, whichever is later. When child support is calculated, your income and other factors are taken into consideration to determine an amount that is fair to both you and your child. You should take child support very seriously. If you default on your child support payments, you can face jail time.
Click Here to see the State of Connecticut Child Support Guidelines.
The other type of support that you might be asked to pay is spousal support or alimony. Spousal support is not awarded in every situation, but sometimes if there is a large disparity between incomes, levels of education, health, length of the marriage, and finances between spouses, the spouse with the lower amount of income/education will receive spousal support. There are a few different types of spousal support that might be ordered in your divorce.
Temporary Spousal Support
Temporary Spousal Support is a common form of alimony that is paid while the divorce is being processed. It allows both spouses to maintain their individual standards of living by having the spouse that makes more money give money to the spouse that makes less money. Temporary spousal support will only occur if one spouse makes significantly more money than the other.
Periodic Alimony is another type of spousal support. Periodic alimony is generally given to stay-at-home spouses or spouses that do not have much job experience or education. This type of spousal support helps this spouse support him or herself while he or she searches for a job or improves his or her education level. Periodic alimony can be used to pay for school, job training, or to pay for bills while this spouse tries to make a living for him or herself.
Permanent Alimony is another common form of alimony. This is a permanent form of spousal support paid until the recipient remarries, or until one of the parties involved in permanent alimony passes away. It is possible for permanent alimony to be increased or decreased based on the financial situation of the payer and/or the recipient. Permanent alimony is rarely awarded in divorces.
Our divorce lawyers at Ganim Law are eager to talk to help you with the legal aspects of your divorce. Please give Atty. Ray Ganim a call today at 203-377-7700.
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