Connecticut Divorce

By WomansDivorce Editorial Team

When getting a separation or divorce in Connecticut, you need more than just the advice of your friends. To help you out, we provide the information you need to know before you make those important decisions.

For example, you can get an overview of what the divorce laws are so you can know what to expect if your case goes to trial. Hopefully, you're soon-to-be-ex and you can agree on everything. But if you can't, you'll be able to find legal professionals and mediators who can help you out and child support information if you need it. There are also resources for filing your own divorce paperwork.

You can also look up domestic abuse contact numbers and shelters as well as local support groups that focus on divorce recovery. The links below offer easy access to what you need:

***We may earn a commission for purchases made using our links.

Do It Yourself Divorce Resources:

Online Divorce - This easy to use, accurate, and up-to-date on-line divorce service is a perfect "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of Connecticut. You'll also get access to 40 downloadable books (valued at over $750) and a Name Change Kit & Name Change Notification Guide.

Separation Agreements - Forms you can fill out and print from your computer.

Parenting Plans - Rocket Lawyer offers you the ability to prepare a parenting plan to outline your custody and visitation schedule. This document can be filed with the court to make it legally enforceable.

Financial Professionals 

Eng Zorena Wealth Consulting Group
Joan Zorena - Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®
One Century Tower, 265 Church Street 6th FL
New Haven, CT  06510 
Telephone: 203-498-3344 
Counties Served: Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland and Windham

Going through a separation or divorce is emotionally challenging. It also impacts your financial life, both immediately with respect to maintaining your lifestyle and in the future as you look to achieve longer term goals. A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst can help you can review your cash flow needs, reevaluate your retirement goals, understand how divorce will affect the funding of your child’s education, and determine whether your insurance needs have changed. Let us help you create a strategy to meet you short and long-term financial goals. Don't wait any longer.  Let's get started today!

Divorce Support Groups

The Connecticut United Way has a state-wide database of many different types of support groups. You can search through the general group categories or search by keyword by typing in separation and divorce support groups. You can also call 860-571-7500.

Domestic Violence Resources

Domestic Violence Shelters and Services in Connecticut

In Connecticut, there is a statewide network of domestic violence programs that can be reached by calling the statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-888-774-2900. The programs provide shelter for victims of domestic violence, as well as counseling and other supportive services.

Connecticut Divorce Laws

Online Connecticut Divorce Laws - TITLE 46b FAMILY LAW

Copyright notice regarding state divorce laws

In Connecticut, dissolution of marriage is the legal term for divorce. The following synopsis uses both term interchangeably.

Residency requirements in Connecticut 
To file for a legal separation or dissolution of marriage, 1) either party must be a resident of Connecticut for at least one year before filing the petition, 2) the grounds for divorce occurred after either spouse moved to the state, 3) at least one spouse was a resident of the state when they got married and returned to CT intending to reside here permanently before filing.

A military spouse who was a resident of the state before enlisting in the military, even if stationed elsewhere, will be considered to have continuous residency and meet the residency requirements for divorce or separation.

Which court handles family law matters in CT?
The Superior Court holds jurisdiction over matters regarding annulment, divorce, legal separation, and all matters concerning custody. The initial petition is filed with the court clerk in the Judicial District court where either you or your spouse lives. There is a minimum 90 day waiting period after the petition is filed, at which time a hearing may be scheduled.

Divorce Grounds: A divorce or legal separation may be granted due to:

  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage;
  • The spouses have been separated for at least 18 months and reconciliation is unlikely;
  • Voluntary sexual intercourse between one party and a person other than his or her spouse;
  • Misrepresenting or concealing facts before the marriage which would affect or prevent the basic purpose of marriage and which would result in a practical destruction of the relationship;
  • Willful abandonment for one year with complete negligence of duty;
  • Abandonment for 7 years during which time there is no communication from the missing spouse;
  • Unbearable cruelty;
  • Alcoholism;
  • Imprisonment for a life sentence, or for more than 1 year resulting from a violation of matrimonial duty (such as rape, indecent assault, or acts that might damage the morals of a child)
  • Mental illness resulting in being institutionalized for at least 5 years

What are the grounds for annulment in Connecticut?
The court may grant an annulment if it deems the marriage is void or voidable because:

  1. One party is still legally married to someone else.
  2. The parties are close relatives. A person may not get married to his or her parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, niece or nephew, stepparent or stepchild.
  3. One or both parties were under the age of eighteen at the time of marriage and did not provide written and notarized consent of a parent or guardian
  4. A party was under the supervision or control of a conservator at the time of marriage and did not receive written consent by the conservator to the marriage.
  5. The marriage was performed without a marriage license.
  6. The concealment of impotency or sterility by one party.
  7. The mental incapacity to marry due to excessive intoxication.
  8. One or both spouses entered the marriage due to fraud.
  9. A party entered the marriage under duress or pressure from the other spouse or another person.

Is it possible to get legally separated in CT?
You can get a legal separation in Connecticut as long as you meet the residency requirements. Custody, visitation, and support may also be ordered if the couple has children together. Other issues that may be addressed in a legal separation are division of assets and debts, residence of the marital home, and temporary alimony. Separated spouses can file a "Declaration of resumption of marital relations" to have a legal separation decree dismissed if they wish void the legal separation. Either spouse also has the option to petition the court to have the legal separation converted to a divorce at any time.

Who gets to live in the house during a divorce?
Either party may ask the court for exclusive use of the family residence while the divorce or separation is pending. The court considers the children involved and if there is the threat of possible abuse when making the decision on whether to award exclusive use of the home.

How are the financial aspects handled in a Connecticut divorce?
If a married couple can't agree on how to split the property and debts, then the court will reach an equitable distribution based on the following factors:

  • The length of the marriage,
  • Marital fault
  • The age, health, occupation and employment skills, sources of income, debts, and the probability for future acquirement of capital assets and income or each spouse.
  • The contribution of each spouse in the purchase, maintenance, or increase in value of their individual estates.

Generally, all property and debts acquired while the couple was married is subject to division. What is interesting is that Connecticut may assign property acquired prior to the marriage when dissolving a marriage, based on the above factors to achieve an equitable settlement.

Can I get alimony or some sort of support?
The court has broad discretion in awarding alimony and either spouse may be ordered to pay alimony. The court considers the factors below when determining the level and duration of support payments:

  • How long the marriage lasted,
  • Marital fault,
  • The age, health, occupation and employment skills, and sources of income of each spouse,
  • The custodial parent's capability of securing employment,
  • Each spouse’s estate and needs,
  • If a spouse has willfully depleted his or her earnings, the alimony award may be based on the demonstrated earning capacity of that spouse.

Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to allow the dependent spouse the opportunity to receive further education or employment training or skills in order to become self-sufficient. Upon notification, the court may modify or terminate the alimony award if it is found the receiving spouse is living with another person such that the living arrangements would alter the financial needs of the receiving party. Remarriage generally ends the alimony obligation.

Divorce and changing your name in CT
You can ask the court to restore your maiden or former name when the divorce is entered. You may also petition the court to restore your name after the divorce is entered. The law reads that either spouse may request the resumption of a maiden or former name by the wife, but it will be at the discretion of the court and it is unlikely the court would force a wife to change her name.

Custody laws in Connecticut
If the parents can't reach a mutual agreement concerning the custody, visitation, and care of their children, the court can assign parental responsibility either jointly or award custody to either parent (or a third party) based on the circumstances and what would be best for the child. To make this decision, the court considers:

  • The child's disposition and developmental needs, as well as each parents ability to recognize and meet the needs of the child;

  • The child's preference regarding custody and any other relevant information given by the child;

  • Each parents wishes regarding custody and their abilities to be actively involved in the child's life;

  • The child's current and past relationship with each parent, any siblings, and anyone else who may substantially affect the best interests of the child;

  • Each parents willingness to support and encourage the child's ongoing relationship with the other parent when appropriate;

  • Alienating or manipulating behavior by either parent in an effort to draw the child into the parents' dispute; 

  • The child's adaptation to the home, school, and community settings; 

  • How long the child has lived in a stable home environment and the benefits of maintaining the status quo. The court may consider favorably a who parent voluntarily leaves the family home temporarily to ease the stress in the household; 

  • The stability of the child's existing or proposed dwellings, or both; 

  • The mental and physical health of all parties involved; 

  • Whether any domestic abuse has occurred either towards the child or either parent and the effect it has had on the child; 

  • Participation in a parenting education program as established by the court.

The court may also order either parent to undergo counseling or drug or alcohol screening if necessary to protect the child.

How much child support will the non-custodial parent have to pay?
Connecticut child support is granted for minor children of the marriage until a child completes the 12th grade or reaches the age of nineteen, whichever occurs first. Support may continue until the age of 21 if the child has mental or physical disabilities and is dependent on the residential parent.

In determining the level of support, the court will consider the age, health, employability and earning capability, amount and sources of income of both the parents as well as the child. The court may order health insurance to be carried on the child (either by one or both parents) and require that the obligated parent obtain life insurance to secure child support payments. If child support is not secured by an income withholding order, the court may stipulate the obligated parent execute a bond or post other security to insure the support order.

Child support can be modified in the future if it is shown there has been a significant change in circumstances of either parent, or if it can be proven the initial support order substantially differs (more than 15%) from the support guidelines established by the state, unless it can be shown that the amount of support as determined by following the guidelines would be inequitable.

The court may also order educational support upon the petition of a parent to provide for a child who will be attending a higher education facility for up to 4 academic years for the purpose of receiving vocational training, a bachelor's degree, or other undergraduate degree. This option is not available after a divorce is finalized unless the decree explicitly provides for the option at a subsequent date. Education support must terminate by the child’s 23rd birthday and does not include support for graduate or postgraduate education beyond a bachelor's degree.

In determining whether to order educational support, the court will consider: 1) Each parents income, assets and debts, and duty to support other dependents; 2) The child's need for support while attending the educational facility and his or her ability to earn an income 3) The availability of financial aid; 4) How reasonable it is to pursue higher education given the financial resources available and the child's academic performance, aptitude for, and commitment to attaining further education

A child must be enrolled in an accredited institution or occupational school in order to qualify for the payment of educational support, in addition to maintaining at least ½ the course load required for full-time enrollment, maintaining good academic standing, and ensuring that school records are available to both parents while educational support is being paid. Education support may be paid directly to the educational institution or to a parent who then forwards it to the school.