The Sol Mahoney Law Firm
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get a divorce in Connecticut?
1. One of you has to have lived in Connecticut for twelve months preceding the action, or one party was domiciled in Connecticut at the time of marriage and returned to Connecticut with the intent to of permanently remaining here before filing the complaint or the cause for the dissolution arose after either party moved to Connecticut.
Grounds for Dissolution The marriage has broken down irretrievably; the parties have lived apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous period of at least the eighteen months immediately prior to the service of the complaint and that there is no reasonable prospect that they will be reconciled; adultery; fraudulent contract; willful desertion for one year with total neglect of duty; seven years’ absence, during all of which period the absent party has not been heard from; habitual intemperance; intolerable cruelty; sentence to imprisonment for life or the commission of any infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty and punishable by imprisonment for a period in excess of one year; legal confinement in a hospital or hospitals or other similar institution or institutions, because of mental illness, for at least an accumulated period totaling five years within the period of six years next preceding the date of the complaint.” CONN. GEN. STAT. § 46b-40© (2011).
What should I be doing now to prepare for my divorce?
Please schedule a consultation with me to discuss this issue. There are many important items that should be addressed prior to filing for a divorce.
How long will the divorce take?
Once the Summons and Complaint are served and filed with the court, a case management date is set about 90 days from filing with the court. If the parties agree on all terms you can be divorced on the case management date, however, most divorces take between six to twelve months.
Who gets to stay in the house?
When a party files for a divorce or files their answer/cross complaint, either party can request exclusive possession of the marital residence. This is called a Pendente Lite motion and is heard by the judge within the first couple of weeks of filing. Both parties have the legal right to remain in the marital residence until a court determines otherwise.
How will the income and bills be divided while the divorce is proceeding?
When filing the complaint or the answer/cross complaint either party can request alimony and/or a lump sum of money. This is a Pendente Lite motion and they become temporary orders of the court to provide financial support to the requesting party. The court will address who is paying which monthly bills/liabilities at this time as well.
What about medical, hospital, life and dental insurance?
The notice of automatic orders requires both parties to keep the existing insurance policies in effect.
How do we figure out the kids once the divorce starts?
Either party can file a Pendente Lite motion for joint custody, sole custody and/or primary residence. If there is a custody dispute a guardian ad litem or an attorney for the child will be agreed upon to represent the children. The parties disputing custody may also be referred to family relations which is a division of the court that helps mediate matters. There will be a temporary agreement or order of the court entered on the matter of custody if the parties cannot agree. The order will include where the children will be on which days and will include the basic framework for upcoming holidays, celebrations, vacations, etc.
Are there any things I can’t do once the divorce is started?
Once a divorce is started automatic court orders are in effect – automatic orders state (1)]Neither party shall permanently remove the minor child or children from the state of Connecticut, without written consent of the other or order of a judicial authority. (2) A party vacating the family residence shall notify the other party or the other party's attorney, in writing, within forty-eight hours of such move, of an address where the relocated party can receive communication. This provision shall not apply if and to the extent there is a prior, contradictory order of a judicial authority. (3) If the parents of minor children live apart during this proceeding, they shall assist their children in having contact with both parties, which is consistent with the habits of the family, personally, by telephone, and in writing. This provision shall not apply if and to the extent there is a prior, contradictory order of a judicial authority. (4) Neither party shall cause the children of the marriage or the civil union to be removed from any medical, hospital and dental insurance coverage, and each party shall maintain the existing medical, hospital and dental insurance coverage in full force and effect. (5) The parties shall participate in the parenting education program within sixty days of the return day or the complaint or within sixty days from the filing of the application or verified petition. (6) These orders do not change or replace any existing court orders, including criminal protective and civil restraining orders. In all cases involving a marriage or civil union, whether or not there are children: (1)]Neither party shall sell, transfer, exchange, assign, remove, or in any way dispose of, without the consent of the other party in writing, or an order of a judicial authority, any property, except in the usual course of business or for customary and usual household expenses or for reasonable attorney's fees in connection with this action. (2) Neither party shall conceal any property. (3) Neither party shall encumber (except for the filing of a lis pendens) without the consent of the other party, in writing, or an order of a judicial authority, any property except in the usual course of business or for customary and usual household expenses or for reasonable attorney's fees in connection with this action. (4) Neither party shall cause any asset, or portion thereof, co-owned or held in joint name, to become held in his or her name solely without the consent of the other party, in writing, or an order of the judicial authority. (5) Neither party shall incur unreasonable debts hereafter, including, but not limited to, further borrowing against any credit line secured by the family residence, further encumbrancing any assets, or unreasonably using credit cards or cash advances against credit cards. (6) Neither party shall cause the other party to be removed from any medical, hospital and dental insurance coverage, and each party shall maintain the existing medical, hospital and dental insurance coverage in full force and effect. (7) Neither party shall change the beneficiaries of any existing life insurance policies, and each party shall maintain the existing life insurance, automobile insurance, homeowners or renters insurance policies in full force and effect. (8) If the parties are living together on the date of service of these orders, neither party may deny the other party use of the current primary residence of the parties, whether it be owned or rented property, without order of a judicial authority. This provision shall not apply if there is a prior, contradictory order of a judicial authority.
What about Child Support?
Either party can file a Pendente Lite motion for child support. The court will follow the state issued child support guidelines unless they find a reason to deviate from them. The amount of child support paid or received depends on the income of the parties as well as the amount of time the children will be spending with each parent.
I am not sure what assets we have or how much my spouse makes…how do we find that out and how does that get divided?
There will be an opportunity to request information from your spouse. This is called request for disclosure and production and requires at the very least that the following items be exchanged by the parties:
3 years federal and state income tax returns
3 years IRS forms W-2, 1099 and K-1
Copies of all pay stubs or other evidence of income for the current year and the last pay stub from the past year Bank account statements for the past 24 months
The most recent statement showing and interest in any IRA, deferred compensation plan, retirement account, Keogh, profit sharing plan, or retirement account.
A summary provided by the employer of the party’s medical insurance policy, coverage, cost of coverage, spousal benefits, and COBRA costs following dissolution.
Appraisals concerning any asset owned by the parties ie. House.
What is the difference between a Protective order and a restraining order?
A Protective order in a family violence situation is a result of criminal activity and is issued after the accused has been arrested for committing a family violence crime. A Restraining order is a civil matter and can be issued without the accused person being arrested.
Who pays my attorney, Sol Mahoney’s fees?
Either party has the right to make a motion to request the other party pay for their attorney’s fees. Each case is different and the judge makes a determination if attorney’s fees are awarded.
Do I keep my last name or go back to my Maiden name? You have the option of requesting to reinstate your maiden name.
How long does Alimony last?
Every case is different. The determination of alimony is based on but not limited to:
Length of marriage, Cause of Dissolution, Age of the Parties, Health of the Parties, Station of the Parties, Occupation and amount and sources of income, Vocational skills and employ-ability, Estate of the parties, Needs of the parties.
Does it matter if one of us cheated?
Connecticut is a no-fault state so infidelity does not have to occur in order to get a divorce. But, the judge may consider infidelity when determining alimony and asset division.
The Sol Mahoney Law Firm is here to help, simply contact us via the method below of your choosing and we will be happy to assist you.