The decision to file for divorce is stressful, but it’s just the beginning. People have to deal with numerous challenges, and deciding what to do can be hard. This article can help by providing information for those interested in DIY divorce in the state of Connecticut.
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Benefits of Do It Yourself Divorce
This scenario is appealing to many people because it allows spouses to save lots of money. Partners can go through the divorce process by themselves without needing to hire an attorney. In most cases, lawyers are paid hourly for their services, meaning that the cost of divorce can reach significant sums of money.
While DIY divorce may sound complicated at first, Connecticut Judicial Branch offers information for those choosing to get a divorce without an attorney. Moreover, this article can also help you understand the do-it-yourself divorce process.
General Information to Consider
Connecticut is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the divorce process can begin if one or both spouses claim that their marriage is broken beyond repair. Such an approach is common and often used by couples who do not wish to disclose their reasons for divorce.
The state also has a list of grounds for divorce for fault-based cases:
- Desertion for a minimum of 1 year;
- Legal separation for at least 18 months;
- Absence for at least 7 years;
- Imprisonment for at least 1 year;
- Fraudulent contract;
- Abuse of partner and/or children;
- Substance abuse;
- Confinement to a mental establishment for 5 years.
The Actual Process
DIY divorce works best if the couple can agree on every critical matter such as child custody, property division, etc. It is called an uncontested divorce. If the divorce becomes contested, both parties will likely hire lawyers, and the judge gets involved in solving issues. So, keep this in mind when considering a DIY scenario.
The first thing to do is take care of the required divorce papers. The Connecticut Judicial Branch offers a list of forms for couples with and without children. While this is good news, going through all these documents and filling them out correctly can be challenging and confusing if a person does not have a legal background.
That is why online divorce paperwork assistance companies are so popular. Users can easily fill out and generate all the required documents online through these platforms. Spouses get papers generated by these websites in several business days. What’s more, all the documents are 100% court-ready. Couples prefer this method because it is much more affordable and convenient than involving a third party to handle the paperwork.
Filing the Papers
The petitioner (the spouse filing for divorce) should bring the completed papers to the local county clerk’s office. The clerk checks whether the forms are relevant for the case and meet state requirements. They also check whether there are any mistakes and then assign an individual case number.
At this time, the petitioner can ask when the paperwork has to be served and filed to the court. It is called the “Return Date.”
Serving the Papers
There is only one way to serve papers to the respondent in Connecticut – through the services of a State Marshall. This service comes with a fee. However, the petitioner may request a waiver due to financial hardship, which will be reviewed by the judge. The delivery of papers is confirmed by the Marshall, who prepares a “Return of Service” form and delivers it to the clerk’s office.
Waiting Periods and Additional Information
The state of Connecticut has a “Call Management Date.” It is a waiting period that equals at least 90 days following the Return Date. This period allows partners to fill out the “Case Management Agreement” and send it to the clerk.
This way, they can pick a date for their final court hearing. However, if partners cannot reach an agreement regarding the hearing date, it is selected by the judge.
Partners must also complete some forms to show the spouses’ financial information such as income, assets, and liabilities. These forms must be filed at least 30 days before the Return Date.
If partners have children, they are required to go through a parenting course. It is possible to do so during the 90 day waiting period or even before the Return Date. The clerk’s office provides a list of court-approved courses upon request.
The final divorce hearing happens on the date selected in the Case Management Agreement. If both partners have no disagreements, they arrive at the court with all the required paperwork. The judge reviews the paperwork, asks some questions, and declares the couple divorced.
Getting a divorce in Connecticut doesn’t have to be hard. The DIY divorce scenario may look complicated at first, but knowing about the required papers and the waiting periods makes it easier.