Divorces are started one of two ways, depending on the type of divorce appropriate for you.
For those who qualify for the new Nonadversarial Divorce and want to proceed under those guidelines, the following steps must be taken:
- Must file a joint petition for the Nonadversarial Divorce. In this petition you will provide basic personal and residence information and certify that the following facts apply to your marriage:
- Married 8 years or less;
- Neither pregnant;
- No children born or adopted by parties;
- No ownership or interest in real property (real estate);
- Total value of all property owned by both parties is less than $35,000.00;
- Neither party has a company sponsored pension plan;
- Neither party has a pending bankruptcy;
- Neither party applying for or receiving Medicaid benefits;
- No other action for dissolution of marriage pending; And
- No restraining or protective orders between the parties.
- You will also have to agree to proceed by consent and waive service of process, verify that you are proceeding voluntarily, waive any right to trial, alimony, spousal support, and appeal.
- You will need to submit an agreement outlining all the terms of your divorce and verify that both parties agree the agreement is fair and equitable.
- You will need to both compete and sign before a notary a document called a Financial Affidavit which provides the court with a snapshot of your income, expenses, debts and property.
- Both parties will need to complete and sign a document called an Appearance stating you are representing yourself in your divorce.
- If either party has received any financial public assistance, a copy of your paperwork to the State of Connecticut, Office of the Attorney General.
- Pay any applicable filing fees with the court.
All of the above forms can be obtained via the Connecticut Judicial website: www.jud.ct.gov or at any of the judicial district courthouses.
The court will review your paperwork and could divorce you in 35 days or less. If approved, you will not have to go to court or attend any hearings. You will be notified of your divorce by mail. If the court has any questions or concerns, they will notify you and possibly schedule a date and time for both parties to go to court to address the issues. If the court denies this expedited divorce for any reason, your case will be placed on the regular docket and will proceed pursuant to traditional divorce procedure.
If you do not qualify or do not want to proceed according to the Nonadversarial Divorce rules, you will follow the traditional divorce procedure:
- Complete a Summons and Complaint and any applicable motions for temporary orders and sign them in front of a notary at the clerk’s office (the clerk’s office will direct you where to go to do this);
- You must then get the paperwork to a marshal for service on your spouse within the prescribed time and pay the applicable marshal fee (the court will provide you with a list of area marshals to contact);
- The marshal will make service and return the paperwork to you with proof of service. You will need to file the paperwork and proof of service with the court within the prescribed time and pay the applicable court filing fee;
- Your spouse will have a certain date by which he/she is to file a form called an Appearance with the court and provide a copy to you;
- If you filed for any temporary orders, you will receive notice from the court as to your court date with instructions for marking the matter ready;
- Automatic orders (which should be part of the Complaint) are applicable to the Plaintiff upon signing the Complaint and applicable to the Defendant upon service. It is important to read and understand these orders and follow them. They include exchanging financial information and attending a parenting class if you have children together;
- You will be given time to try to work out an agreement with your spouse on your own. If you reach an agreement, put it in writing. At that time, you can fill out the other necessary paperwork and ask the court for an uncontested hearing;
- If you can’t reach an agreement, the court will eventually contact you for a status conference to find out what issues are still in dispute. They will then likely send you to the office of Family Relations for assistance and will monitor your case thereafter; and
- If an agreement is still not reached after sufficient time, the court will set pretrial and trial dates.
All of the above forms can be obtained via the Connecticut Judicial website: www.jud.ct.gov or at any of the judicial district courthouses. In addition, each courthouse has a court service center which can offer procedural assistance/guidance. They do not offer legal advice.
If you would like us to evaluate your situation to see which type of divorce would be appropriate for you, please contact us for a free phone consultation.