Have you made the difficult decision to divorce your spouse? Our Connecticut divorce attorneys discuss what’s required to initiate proceedings and explain the process you’ll need to navigate to obtain a divorce.
How Do I Start a Divorce In Connecticut?
Like any other civil lawsuit, a divorce case begins by properly serving your spouse with a summons and complaint.
In Connecticut, a Marshal can serve your spouse directly, either in hand or at their residence. However, if you don’t know where they currently reside, you can either have a Marshal serve divorce papers on your spouse’s attorney’s office or publish notice of your intent to divorce in a local newspaper if you receive permission from the Court to do so.
Your spouse can also elect to waive service by a Marshal, provided they’ve signed an affidavit to that effect.
Once your spouse has been properly served, your divorce papers will be filed with the clerk of the appropriate court, usually electronically. At that point, divorce proceedings have officially begun.
What Must I Include in My Connecticut Divorce Complaint?
Compared to those associated with other types of civil lawsuits, a divorce complaint is typically quite benign, with the most significant claim generally being an assertion that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
Beyond the specific allegations, your Connecticut divorce complaint must also include jurisdictional information, such as where and when you were married and where you currently reside. You’re also required to include the names and ages of any children under the age of 23.
How Long Will My Connecticut Divorce Case Take?
The timeline for concluding a Connecticut divorce can vary significantly.
In some very rare cases, couples have been able to conclude divorce proceedings in a matter of weeks. But there have also been cases that dragged on for years due to protracted litigation and appeals.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the average Connecticut divorce case was completed in approximately 6to 12 months. But since the pandemic’s onset, a significant backlog of cases has extended the average divorce timeline to 12 to 18 months.
However, COVID has had one positive impact on the Connecticut divorce system, as parties able to settle can now sign and file their agreement electronically, eliminating the need for an in-person court appearance to finalize their divorce.
Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce In Connecticut?
In most cases, who filed for divorce will not factor into the final resolution, especially if the case is resolved by agreement.
Even if a divorce ends up in court, there is no presumption in Connecticut that the plaintiff filing for divorce is the “good” spouse or that the defendant served with divorce papers is the “bad” spouse.
Is There Any Advantage to Being The Plaintiff In a Divorce?
If a divorce case can’t be resolved without going to trial, the plaintiff (the spouse filing for divorce) will have the right to call first witnesses. While many believe the ability to tell their story first offers a plaintiff some advantage at trial, there are also valid arguments as to why being the first or second to present is of little consequence.
But since roughly 95% of Connecticut divorces eventually settle, a party’s status as plaintiff or defendant likely won’t matter at all.
When is the Most Common Time to File for Divorce In Connecticut?
In most cases, there’s never a “good” time to file for divorce.
With various life events and milestones – birthdays, school events, holidays, etc. – arising throughout the year, identifying a convenient time to end a marriage is all but impossible.
That being said, our office typically receives the most divorce-related inquiries right after school starts in the Fall and just after New Year’s Day.
Our Experienced Connecticut Divorce Attorneys are Here to Help
If you’re ready to file for divorce, it’s essential to understand that the decisions you make today and in the coming weeks and months will impact almost every aspect of your life for years to come.
Our experienced Connecticut divorce attorneys are ready to help you navigate each phase of your divorce and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way.
Contact us today to schedule your consultation.