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divorce and family law
frequently asked questions

Connecticut Divorce FAQ’S

As a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney, I have answered some common questions surrounding the divorce process in Connecticut: 

Is Connecticut a “no fault” state?  Yes.  Connecticut is a “no fault” state and a divorce can be granted on the ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  However, the Court may consider the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage in dividing the marital estate and in determining the amount of alimony. 

How will my assets be divided?  The process of divorce includes the division of marital property between the parties, which in Connecticut includes assets brought into the marriage, accumulated during the marriage and inherited during the marriage.  The Court will consider such factors as the length of the marriage, cause for the breakdown of the marriage, age and health of the parties, the income, occupation, assets and liabilities of each party, and the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective assets.

What is alimony?  Alimony, which is the same as spousal support, is money paid by one spouse to another either during the divorce, or upon the divorce becoming final, towards the receiving spouse’s living and other expenses.  It can be limited to a term of years, or payable for a lifetime, depending on the particular circumstances of the case

What is legal custody?  Legal custody refers to the legal authority of a parent to make major decisions which affects the child’s health, education and welfare.

What is physical custody?  Physical custody, or residential custody, determines in which household the child primarily lives.

How is child support determined?  The Connecticut Child Support Guidelines establish child support based upon the combined net income of both parents.  Additionally, the parties are required to contribute to the cost of unreimbursed medical and dental expenses as well as work-related child care expenses.

What if parents cannot agree on custody/access issues to the child(ren)? When parents cannot agree on custody and parenting issues, the Court will usually appoint a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) to help determine what is in the best interest of a child or children, and in some cases the Court will appoint an attorney for the minor child (AMC).  The Court may also require that the family undergo a custody evaluation either by a Family Relations Counselor, who is a state employee, or by a private custody evaluator. 

Can I be required to pay for my child’s college education?  Yes.  Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 46-b-56c, the Court has jurisdiction to enter orders regarding post-secondary educational support for your children.

Can a support order be changed following our divorce? Yes.  Where there is a substantial change in one of the party’s financial circumstances, an alimony or child support order may be modifiable.   

What is a pre-nuptial agreement?  A pre-marital or pre-nuptial agreement is a written agreement entered into by two people who are intending to marry.  It may include provisions such as how marital assets are to be distributed in the event of death or divorce, and it could set limits on the amount of alimony paid by one spouse to the other in the event of a divorce.

What is the difference between a pre-nuptial and a post-nuptial agreement? Whereas a pre-nuptial agreement is signed before the date of the wedding, a post-nuptial agreement is an agreement signed during the marriage. 

Can my divorce be mediated?  Divorce mediation can be a peaceful and effective way to resolve your divorce.  In order for mediation to work, there must be full disclosure by each of the parties of their respective income and assets, and the parties must be able to communicate with each other and resolve support and access issues regarding their children.  As an experienced mediator, I work with both parties to come to an equitable agreement with respect to all issues surrounding their divorce, including asset division, support and custody.

 

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Dori-Ellen S. Feltman, attorney at law, serves clients throughout Fairfield County and New Haven County, Connecticut, including clients located in Greenwich, Darien, Norwalk, Wilton, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, Weston, Easton, Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Milford, Trumbull, Monroe, Newtown, Shelton, Danbury, Ridgefield, Orange, Branford, Woodbridge and New Haven.