Facing a Divorce in Connecticut? Connect With A Trusted Family Law Attorney

Serving Connecticut Residents in Hartford, New Britain, Torrington, Litchfield, Granby, Avon, Canton, Simsbury, Farmington and surrounding areas.


What You Need To Know

Discussion with a Divorce Lawyer

We know that people will come to this website looking for affirmation in various stages of the process of confronting their divorce. Perhaps, you are thinking that you need to be divorced to be happy and are here to learn about the process. You may have just been served with legal documents because your spouse has filed for divorce, and you’re hurt and confused.  This is a brief primer we hope will help, offered by the Law Offices of James C. Wing, Jr.

1. What Is A Divorce?

Divorce is the legal process by which the court dissolves a marriage. During the process the court may terminate or reform the legal duties and responsibilities of the two spouses, meaning the court can divide assets and liabilities and apportion income and expenses. If the spouses are the parents of children, the court will issue orders regarding the custody of the children, determine the amount of child support, who pays it, who receives it, and establish a parenting plan setting out parenting time for each day and for holidays and vacations.

2. What Has To Be Proven To Obtain A Judgement In A Divorce Case?

A complaint for divorce alleges facts to establish the legal elements of a divorce claim. It is necessary to prove that the court has jurisdiction over the parties and that the case has been brought to the proper Superior Court location within the State of Connecticut. The plaintiff will offer evidence to prove that the marriage is broken down irretrievably without hope of reconciliation. Because Connecticut is a “no fault” divorce state, irreparable breakdown is all that need be proven.  However, the court will consider whether the conduct of one party makes that party more responsible for the breakdown of the marriage than the other and may factor fault into the disposition of the case.  In a divorce where the parties have children, the court will also enter orders regarding custody, child support and a plan for parenting.

3. Should I Be The First To File The Divorce?

The spouse who files the divorce is called the plaintiff. The plaintiff has to pay the court entry fee and pay a Judicial Marshal to serve the divorce complaint and other documents on the defendant spouse to initiate the case.

Once a divorce complaint has been filed one of three things has to happen:

  • The parties can decide to attempt reconciliation and if that is successful the plaintiff can withdraw the divorce complaint ending the matter.
  • The parties can agree to the terms of a Separation Agreement and Stipulation for Judgment and present it to the judge.  The judge will make the agreement the order of the court if she or he determines that its terms are fair, just and reasonable.
  • If the parties are unable to reach agreement, there will be a trial at which the parties will present evidence concerning the marriage and its breakdown and the court will consider that evidence and apply the law to reach a decision which will be described in a Memorandum of Decision, a document which states the court’s findings of fact and its orders dissolving the marriage.

If the case goes to trial, the plaintiff will present his or her case first, followed by the defendant. Strategically, Attorney Wing believes there is an advantage to being the first to present a case because that offers the opportunity to make a first impression on the judge, and if that impression is favorable, the opposing party starts out having to overcome it.

4. Should I Engage An Attorney To Represent Me In My Divorce?

The previous paragraph describes the three paths a case can take after it has been initiated. If the parties cannot reconcile and withdraw the action, issues will arise and be contested to varying degrees depending on the desires and circumstances of the parties. If you have children, a parenting plan will need to be negotiated or determined by the judge.  It is a highly important piece of the puzzle because the parenting plan should protect the children who will be upset by the divorce and be looking to their parents to affirm that they are still loved and will be kept safe. Usually, the parent who is with the child or children more hours each week will be the parent who receives child support from the other parent.  Family Services provides limited assistance with formulating a parenting plan, but having a Simsbury Divorce Lawyer gives you a representative to accompany you throughout the ordeal who has thoroughly discussed the matter with you in advance of any meetings or hearings and who knows how to articulate the facts of your case persuasively at those meetings and hearings.  A CT divorce attorney can be a great help with issues that having children inject into the divorce process.  Some of these issues may not even come to the mind of a layperson.

A divorce lawyer will help with the issues of what the arrangements will be while the divorce is pending. Will the spouses live together? How will they share parenting responsibilities for their children? How will the financial responsibilities be apportioned while the case is pending? What if the parties are angry at one another or have decided to begin living apart immediately for other reasons? Who will be responsible for the costs of a second dwelling? Will a spouse in the new dwelling situation still have any responsibility to support the former marital residence?

During the pendency of the case, it is prudent to diligently review the assets, liabilities, and expenses of each party.  Even if the parties have handled financial matters together, getting complete sets of records and sharing them can be an ordeal.  It is called conducting discovery and it can be accomplished using written interrogatories, requests for production, conducting depositions, obtaining appraisals, subpoenaing the financial records and the like.

When discovery is complete it’s appropriate to begin negotiating a Separation Agreement and Stipulation in order to try and avoid going to trial. Assuming that a self-represented party somehow could do as thorough a job of discovery as a Simsbury Divorce Attorney can, what then?  Settlements are negotiated from predictions of what would happen if the case needed to be tried.  How is a self-represented party going to know or learn the law and determine what evidence is admissible and what is inadmissible?  How can the self-represented party estimate what the outcome would be if a judge applied the law to the admissible evidence?  Even if there is an agreement, how do self-represented parties draft a comprehensive Separation Agreement and Stipulation for Judgment in the detailed and careful style that makes a good legal document? The failure to draft a clear and precise legal agreement may mean that important topics might be omitted and there will probably be ambiguities in the wording that can lead to disputes in the future and necessitate a return to court for resolution.

If a settlement is impossible, how does a party present and defend a case at trial?  There are rules of evidence.  If the admissibility of certain evidence requires that a foundation be established, will the self-represented be able to meet that requirement? Similarly, how will a self-represented party learn to judge the evidence offered by the opposing party and make objections in a form that the court will sustain thereby keeping inadmissible evidence from being considered by the court?

Going Through a Divorce? Contact Connecticut Family Law Attorney James C. Wing, Jr. Today

Divorce impacts one’s life profoundly – at stake are your accumulated wealth and your priceless relationships with your children.  With those stakes, we respectfully suggest that the best representation you can afford will be worth it. This is true even if the relationship between the parties continues to be cordial and the issues seem to be few. In such a case, the number of legal services required and, therefore, legal fees, could be expected to be less, but because each new day may bring a new problem, quality representation is no less important.

If you are going through a divorce, please contact Connecticut Family Law Attorney James C. Wing, Jr. today. We are here to guide you through the process. Contact us now.