Divorce and Family Law FAQs

Does Connecticut recognize “common law" marriage?
No. There is no common law marriage in the State of Connecticut.

If spouses are physically living apart from each other, are they "legally separated”?
No. In Connecticut, Legal Separation only exists pursuant to a Judicial Decree.

What is the difference between a Legal Separation and a Divorce?
The primary difference is that when a couple are legally separated, they are still married and thus not able to remarry unless the Legal Separation is converted to a divorce by Judicial Decree.

Is Connecticut a community property state?
No. There is no legal presumption in Connecticut as to the division of property between spouses.

Is there a legal advantage if one party files for divorce first?
No. Both parties are bound by the same Automatic Orders, which are effective with the service of the divorce papers.

How long does it take to get divorced?
It is very difficult to predict how long it will take for a divorce to go to Judgment. In most cases, there is a minimum time period of 90 days after the Return Date. Generally, the more issues which are being contested the longer it will take. Ultimately, if an agreement is not reached, the case will be tried before a Judge, and this will take the longest due to the availability of Judges and the large number of divorce cases pending in the judicial system.

Can one spouse object to, or prevent, a divorce from happening?
No. If one spouse wants a divorce and the other spouse does not, there will be a divorce; however, the process will likely be more time consuming and difficult if one spouse is not cooperating in the process.

What is the difference between a Limited Contested and a Fully Contested case?
A Limited Contested case is one where the only issues in dispute are financial matters. A Fully Contested case is one in which issues involving the children, such as custody and/or a parenting plan, are in dispute, as well as financial matters. 

What is an uncontested case?
An uncontested case is one in which there is 100% agreement on all matters involved in the case. 

If both spouses are living together in the marital home, must one of them move out of the marital home while the divorce case is pending?
No. Generally, both parties have a legal right to continue to reside in the marital home while the divorce is pending; however, either party may file a motion seeking exclusive possession of the home while the case is pending. If an agreement cannot be reached, a hearing can be held, and a judge will decide the issue.

After the divorce is final, can the terms of the Judgment be modified in the future?
Yes and no. Generally, property settlements are non-modifiable unless one can prove fraud, misrepresentation, mutual mistake, or the parties agree to a modification. However, child support, custody, and parenting plans are almost always subject to modification. Alimony, both the terms and the length of time, may or may not be modifiable depending upon the specific language in the original divorce Judgment.

If I have had a child/children with someone to whom I am not married, what can I do?
Similar to a divorce action, you may file an action in Superior Court seeking Court Orders regarding child support and custody and/or a parenting plan for the child/children.