Like most areas in life, the COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on the court system, including the divorce process. As Connecticut begins to transition to life after COVID, the Connecticut Judicial Branch is also changing the divorce process.
The initial steps to file for divorce remain the same. The party filing for divorce must serve a Summons and Complaint on the other party. Once the initial paperwork is filed, the Court will schedule a Resolution Plan Date. At the Resolution Plan Date, parties will meet with Family Relations to assess the issues in the case and enter a Scheduling Order to set future court dates and deadlines.
After the Resolution Plan Date, the next court date is called a Case Date, unless a final agreement is first submitted. A Case Date is essentially your second check-in with the Court. At the Case Date, the Court will evaluate the case’s progress since the Resolution Plan Date. Here, the Court may resolve short Motions, address discovery issues, or enter other temporary relief needed to help resolve issues before Final Judgment.
Different events may occur following the Case Date before finalizing a Connecticut divorce. One event is a deposition, which is often utilized to gather additional information. During a deposition, a Connecticut lawyer will ask the opposing party or witness a series of questions under oath. While depositions occur outside of Court, a court reporter is present to swear in the party or witness being deposed and create a written transcript of the deposition.
Other possible events include Mediation or Trial. Mediation with counsel allows parties to negotiate the terms of their divorce with a neutral third party in hopes of submitting a final agreement to the Court. Contact us if you are in need of mediators in CT. If a final agreement cannot be reached, the Court will set Trial dates. At trial, the parties present evidence (through testimony and documents) regarding the remaining issues in their case, and the Court will decide the issues and issue a final decision, which may be subject to appeal.
The most significant impact COVID has had on the divorce process is the length of time for a divorce to be finalized. Due to Courts being closed in 2020 and an increase in filings, there is a significant backlog of cases and limited Court availability. However, if the parties reach a full agreement on all issues, the Court now allows parties to finalize their divorce “on the papers.” This means that the Judge will review the Agreement and make it an official order of the Court without the parties having to appear in Court.
With law firms in Greenwich and Westport, our Connecticut divorce lawyers are skilled negotiators who strive for settlement whenever possible but are also experienced and successful trial attorneys who can excel at Trial when the occasion arises. We regularly counsel our clients throughout their case on whether to settle or engage in Trial, and our experience has most often led to very favorable results.