In the majority of cases, Connecticut law mandates a 90-day “cooling off” period from the time a spouse files a divorce complaint, during which time both spouses consult with their attorneys, exchange initial financial affidavits, and file interrogatories or production requests but have access to the courts only if support or child custody issues require urgent attention.
On October 1, 2015, Connecticut’s “nonadversarial divorce” took effect. It shortens the 90-day period for those eligible to 35 days or less. The following criteria apply to determine eligibility:
- The parties have been married eight years or less;
- Neither party is pregnant;
- No children were born or adopted before or during the marriage;
- Neither party has any interest or title in any real property;
- The total value of all property they own is less than $35,000;
- Neither party has a company sponsored pension plan;
- Neither party has a pending bankruptcy;
- Neither party is applying for or receiving Medicaid benefits;
- No other action of dissolution of marriage is pending; and
- There are no restraining or protective orders between the parties.
Additionally, if parties reach an agreement prior to the expiration of 90 days they may file a motion to ask a judge to waive the 90-day waiting period.
The Connecticut Judiciary would like to see all divorces concluded within one year of the date the complaint is returned to the court after service on the other spouse.
Overall, however, the length of time required before the final divorce is subject to many factors, of which the following is only a sample:
- In the unfortunate event the spouses cannot agree on child custody issues, there may be necessity for a Family Study conducted by the Family Services Section of the Superior Court or a private analysis conducted at the expense of the parents.
- Detailed examination and analysis of financial discovery is essential. In this process, the need may develop to conduct additional discovery and analysis to determine an accurate inventory of all marital assets.
- Complex financial issues may require retention of one or more experts, for instance, to value a closely held business or an interest in a partnership.
- There may be disputes as to discovery or controversies requiring depositions of third parties.
- Significant disputes needing resolution before further steps in the divorce may require lengthy hearings in court, resulting in delays until the court is able to find time to schedule the necessary proceedings.
Nusbaum & Parrino’s policy is to work toward settlement while preparing for trial. We settle the vast majority of our cases by agreement, but the option of litigation is necessary to reach an equitable result when other efforts have failed. Litigation is a last resort, but preparation for litigation is the most valuable tool to resolve the matter without a trial.