Divorce/Matrimonial Law

The purpose of a dissolution action is to sever the marital relationship, to fix the rights of the parties with respect to alimony and child support to divide the marital estate and to consider custody issues.  Legal issues concerning divorce are complicated, often encompassing many areas of the law.

In Connecticut, a decree dissolving a marriage or granting a legal separation may be entered if: (1) One of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for at least the twelve months next preceding the date of the filing of the complaint or next preceding the date of the decree; or (2) one of the parties was domiciled in this state at the time of the marriage and returned to this state with the intention of permanently remaining before the filing of the complaint; or (3) the cause for the dissolution of the marriage arose after either party moved into this state.

Connecticut is a “no fault” divorce state, meaning that divorcing couples are only required to state that their marriage has “broken down irretrievably” to dissolve their marriage.  However, the court may consider the facts and events that contributed to the cause of the marital breakdown when fashioning financial orders.

The automatic orders apply to both parties following the service of the automatic orders to be made with service of a complaint for dissolution of marriage or civil union, legal separation, or annulment, or an application for custody or visitation, unless, a contradictory order of a judicial authority exists. The automatic orders are effective with regard to the plaintiff or the applicant upon the signing of the complaint, or the application and with regard to the defendant or the respondent upon service and remain in place during the pendency of the action, unless terminated, modified, or amended by further order of the court.

In all cases involving a child or children, whether or not the parties are married or in a civil union:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • 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.
  • Neither party shall conceal any property.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 renter’s insurance policies in full force and effect.
  • 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.

In all cases:

  • The parties shall each complete and exchange sworn financial statements substantially in accordance with a form prescribed by the chief court administrator within thirty days of the return day. The parties may thereafter enter and submit to the court a stipulated interim order allocating income and expenses, including, if applicable, proposed orders in accordance with the uniform child support guidelines

PARRINO|SHATTUCK, PC offers sophisticated legal counsel in all divorce-related matters. We assist our clients in navigating the legal path to dissolving their marriage by formulating case-specific objectives and strategies designed to protect their financial interests, and craft parenting plans that serve the best interests of minor children.

We understand that divorce is often emotional, and we are here to guide you to ask the right questions, identify goals, and work on your behalf to achieve those goals.

Location

PARRINO|SHATTUCK, PC is located on the Saugatuck River in Westport, Connecticut.  We represent clients in family matters throughout Connecticut, including but not limited to Fairfield, Middlesex, New London and Litchfield Counties.  Our clients reside in Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Ridgefield, Westport, Weston, Wilton, Fairfield, Easton, West Hartford, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Essex.  We also frequently appear before the Regional Family Trial Court located in Middletown, Connecticut, as well as the Judicial Districts of Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Danbury, Milford, Norwich, and Hartford.