Understanding the basics of Connecticut family law will help you understand your separation, divorce, child custody, and support issues. Careful planning can provide you peace of mind by protecting your assets and family relationships.
Family law cases can be very complex. Here are some of the more common issues you’ll encounter in divorce, child custody and support disputes.
Family Law in Connecticut
Family law covers a wide range of topics including marriage, adoption, separation, and divorce. Connecticut was a leader in recognizing same-sex marriage and adoptions, and new laws now exist to protect those families as well. The state also has laws covering child custody and support matters, as well as spousal support and restraining orders.
Dissolution of Marriage
Divorcing your spouse is an emotional and confusing process. Difficult or complicated issues, or concerns about your legal rights, are best served by speaking with an attorney.
In Connecticut, divorce can be either contested or uncontested:
- Contested: The parties do not agree on either some or all of the issues at stake, including disputes over who is entitled to certain assets, who will receive custody of any children, and the amount of child or spousal support owed. In these cases, it often takes mediation or litigation to reach a resolution. If the parties are unable to reach a resolution of their disputes, the parties have a right to a court side trial before a Superior Court Judge.
- Uncontested: While mediation is often used to work out details, in an uncontested divorce both parties agree to the general terms of their divorce. This is the ideal situation, as it keeps legal fees and expensive litigation to a minimum.
Even in the friendliest of divorces, the decision making process can be challenging. Divorce alters the family dynamic, changes the ownership of assets and has a life-changing impact on your financial future. An experienced family law attorney can help ease the effects of this uncertain time.
Child Custody and Support
Under Connecticut law judges evaluating custody disputes must base their decisions on what is in the best interests of the children involved. Every case is assessed individually, but Connecticut law starts with the assumption that the active involvement of both parents will benefit the child or children. Some of the factors that are set out in the state’s laws include:
- ◉ Health and Safety
- ◉ Developmental and Emotional Needs
- ◉ Co-Parenting Skills
- ◉ Custody Options
- ◉Parenting Plans
Connecticut law requires both parents (married or not) to support their children together. The state follows an “Income Shares Model,” meaning the court estimates the amount parents would spend on the children if all parties were living together in one household, and then divides this amount between the parents based on their individual incomes.
A judge in Connecticut may award either temporary or permanent support in your divorce. The judge may also award temporary “pendente lite” support to a party while the divorce is ongoing.
The court will consider a number of factors when awarding spousal support, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s amount and source of income, and each spouse’s current financial situation and needs. There is no set formula governing the calculation of Connecticut support and the court has great discretion in deciding whether to make an award and how much that award will be.
At Shepro & Hawkins, our goal is to provide you with the experienced and compassionate counsel you need to navigate any area of family law. We handle both contested and uncontested cases and will help you through this often emotional and stressful time. If you have an issue that needs to be resolved in family court, our focused and experienced legal team can help. For insightful and dedicated representation for any family law matter, contact our firm today.