Not every divorce is contentious and needs to be litigated in court. Many couples are able to come to agreement on how to divide assets and debts without the court intervening. A new state law regarding the time frame of divorce for certain couples came into effect on October 1st, 2015. For those who are eligible for a Simple Divorce under the new law, it will now be possible to get a divorce in a 35-day period or less. The new divorce law also makes it possible for judges to grant these eligible divorces “on the papers,” meaning that couples who qualify for the new non-adversarial divorce law do not need to come to court.
Under normal circumstances, to get a divorce in Connecticut, the divorce becomes final at least 90 days from when the divorce papers are filed. This is called the “Return Date” and is the official starting date of the case. However, it can actually take longer than 3 months for the divorce to be final because the marshal needs time to serve the divorce papers and return them to the court prior to the “Return Date”. In total, it normally takes about 4 months, under the best of circumstances, to be able to get an uncontested divorce completed.
After the Return Date, the other party has four weeks to answer the complaint for divorce, file a cross complaint, or represent themselves in court (also known as a “pro se” appearance).
To qualify for the new state law for non-adversarial divorce laws, that allow spouses to get divorced in 35 days or less, there is a very strict condition list.
To be eligible for a simple divorce in 35 days or less in Connecticut:
- The marriage has broken down irretrievably;
- Being married eight years or less;
- Neither person is pregnant;
- No children were born or adopted before or during the marriage;
- Neither spouse has any interest or title in any real property (like a house);
- The total value of all property they own is less than $35,000;
- Neither spouse has a defined benefit pension plan;
- Neither spouse has a pending bankruptcy;
- Neither spouse is applying for or receiving Medicaid benefits;
- No other action of dissolution of marriage is pending;
- There are no restraining or protective orders between the spouses;
- Residency requirement has been met. Section 46b-44 – (Formerly Sec. 46-35)
Even tough the court has changed the time constraint in which couples can get a divorce; the issues are still the same. Just because the court will give divorcing couples 30 days, it doesn’t mean it can or will be done without help.
A lack of focus makes what could be seemingly straightforward divorce more disorganized and more argumentative. Attorney’s can to help to fit everything needed in the time frame with less stress. They can make the process more efficient, provide their experience, and provide framework and structure that allows people to go thought their case within this new dissolution statutory scheme. Attorney’s can also help to manage the collection of data, analyzing and help to simplify the divorce process so it does get out of hand.