Protecting Clients' Rights In Divorce

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. At PARRINO|SHATTUCK PC, our Westport lawyers have experience in all of these areas of the law and are skilled at guiding people through this complex process.

Our family law attorneys address all aspects of divorce, including:

  • Effect of automatic orders upon filing or service of the divorce complaint;
  • Preparation of financial affidavits;
  • Discovery, including interrogatories, production requests and depositions;
  • Application of Connecticut statutes defining factors the family court must consider;
  • Negotiation and drafting of voluntary separation agreements; and
  • Contested trial of unresolved divorce issues.

Divorce In Connecticut

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 12 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 48 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 60 days of the return day or the complaint or within 60 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 30 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.

Post-Divorce Issues

PARRINO|SHATTUCK PC represents clients after an entry of a decree dissolving a marriage in connection with the enforcement of court orders and modification of orders. In such circumstances, we work on any modification proceedings concerning alimony and/or child support (due to changes in the finances of one of the former spouses). We also negotiate, or if necessary, litigate, modifications of parenting plans, including relocation claims.

Contact Us About Skilled Divorce Representation

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.

Please call 203-557-9755 or contact us by email.