File for Divorce in Fairfield County, Connecticut (CT) | Divorce in Fairfield County
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Divorce in Fairfield County

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Online Divorce in Fairfield County

divorce in Fairfield County

Please note: OnlineDivorce.com in Fairfield County, Connecticut, is a divorce document preparation service, not a law firm. Online Divorce is not eligible to provide legal advice. All the information below is for informational purposes only.

Whoever has gone through a divorce will attest that it was one of the most stressful and emotional experiences in their life. It’s no wonder many people dread filing for divorce and turning the page to start a new life.

However, it does not necessarily have to be like that. Onlinedivorce.com is the perfect solution for couples who seek a dissolution of their marriage and want to handle it quickly and efficiently.

The easiest way to do so in Fairfield County is to have an uncontested divorce by yourself. If both parties agree on all the issues and do not need to hire additional specialists to divide assets and mediate child custody, the cost of divorce can be considerably low.
For such cases, Onlinedivorce.com is a documents preparation service that will provide you with printable and cheap court forms required for your unique case.

Furthermore, Connecticut has its own unique family laws and legal terms which you should get familiar with before commencing your divorce proceedings. For example, the spouse who files for divorce is referred to as the plaintiff (‘petitioner’ in other states) while the other spouse is called the defendant. The divorce paperwork is often referred to as the complaint, by the name of its chief document (which in other states is known as a Petition for Dissolution), alongside other forms, such as Summons and Notice of Automatic Court Orders. To help you with these legal terms and nuances, we gathered important information on basic divorce processes in Fairfield County along with references to Connecticut divorce law to save you time, money, and effort.

Thus, if you decide to have a DIY divorce on your own, you will want to be sure that you understand all the legal matters correctly and are informed about your legal rights and all potential outcomes to your divorce case. Take your time studying these divorce procedures and local rules. And file the divorce papers whenever you are ready.

Divorce in Connecticut has many stages, but filing for divorce is the first and easiest one. Fill out the divorce paperwork and file them with the court, officially initiating the divorce proceedings. To make this first step in Fairfield County, OnlineDivorce.com is here to help you. We provide all the necessary legal forms for your case (with children or without children and with or without marital property) in Fairfield County where you or your spouse resides and complete the forms using the information you provide in an online questionnaire.

If you think that filing for divorce costs too much because you need to hire an attorney, don’t. The State of Connecticut provides a number of inexpensive options to get a divorce without a lawyer. In Fairfield County, divorcing couples can choose do-it-yourself divorce, mediation, and documents preparation services like OnlineDivorce.com. Our service makes the first step of filing the paperwork easy and affordable.

To understand which steps you should take in your situation in Fairfield County, OnlineDivorce.com has put together a guide on how to get a divorce pro se and all the necessary steps in the Connecticut divorce timeline.

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Valid grounds to get divorce in Fairfield County

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According to the C.G.S. Sec. 46b-40., divorcing couples do not need to come up with a fault-based claim to get a divorce. In ‘no-fault’ states, like Connecticut, just saying that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" and/or the parties have “irreconcilable differences” is enough for the court to start the divorce proceedings.

However, if your spouse has played a significant role in breaking down your union, the court will in Fairfield County take it into consideration. That is why it is possible to have fault-based grounds for divorce. Fault-based options include adultery, confinement for incurable insanity for a minimum of five years, willful desertion without support for one year, seven years of absence, cruel and inhumane treatment, fraud, habitual drunkenness or drug addiction, and conviction of a crime with imprisonment for at least one year.

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Custody of the child in Fairfield County

Custody of the child in Fairfield County

When making decisions on child custody and visitation, courts in Fairfield County balance the rights and desires of the parents with the court’s view of the best interests of the child. It is presumed that joint custody, if both parents are willing to be awarded it, is in the best interests of a minor child. If joint custody for the parents is declined, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46b-56a(b) requires the court to have valid grounds for it and explain that decision.

Before making a decision, a court in Fairfield County carefully studies the circumstances and preferences of each party involved and the arrangement the parents provide for the child. Also, according to the C.G.S. Sec. 46b-69b, the court requires parents to provide a parenting plan and complete a parenting education program.

In Fairfield County, a parenting education program is necessary to educate parents on the impact of divorce-related changes on minor children and ways to help their children ease into the changes in their life.

A parenting plan is a written document where parents detail their day-to-day arrangements and responsibility regarding the child’s daily life, education, health, insurance, residence, expenses, major decisions, transportation, vacation, school, and extracurricular activities.

If you are doing your own divorce in Fairfield County, you are advised to seek legal counsel or legal aid, at least once through the process, to review completed forms and any agreements before signing.

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Rules for child support in Fairfield County

According to The Connecticut Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines (C.G.S. § Sec. 46b-215b), although the parenting plan includes a clause on child support, it is ultimately up to the judge to review it. The Connecticut Child Support Guidelines provide a mathematical formula to calculate the child support payment amount depending on the parent’s income, tax deductions, and the number of children. In calculating the sum of child support payments in Fairfield County, the court also takes into consideration such circumstances as shared physical custody or extraordinary medical expenses and modifies the amount calculated based on the guidelines.

Also, the parent who is the primary caregiver can request temporary orders for child support for the duration of divorce. If, however, the other parent has a financial situation preventing them from fully paying child support (loss of employment and other instances of decrease in income), proof of such must be provided to the court in Fairfield County, and the temporary order will be modified accordingly.

Rules for spousal support in Fairfield County

Rules for spousal support in Fairfield County

In Fairfield County, spousal support, also called alimony, is not automatically guaranteed. If one spouse, regardless of sex, feels that he or she needs some financial support to gain independence, they can request the court to award them some form of temporary alimony. Nowadays, permanent spousal support is very rare. Also, spousal support can be part of a settlement agreement.

Using the Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 815j Sec. 46b-46, the court takes into consideration the length of the marriage, education, health, age, vocational skills, respective incomes, earning capacities of the spouses, and a number of other factors when making a decision on spousal support. These factors are also necessary to determine the amount of spousal support.

Although judges use no formula to determine alimony in Fairfield County, CT, you can estimate how much you will pay or get paid here based on gross and net salary of the payor and payee in other US states.

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Property division in Fairfield County

Property division in Fairfield County

To understand the rules of property division in Fairfield County, CT, one should know that Connecticut does not distinguish between separate and marital property. This means that if the spouses bring their separate assets into the marriage, they become marital property and subject to equitable distribution.

Under ‘equitable distribution,’ Connecticut courts decide division of marital property with consideration to the length of the marriage, grounds for dissolution of marriage (adultery can have a considerable effect, for example), earning capacity and income of each spouse, and heath, age, liabilities, and other factors of each spouse.

In contrast to other states, Connecticut considers inheritance and gifts as marital assets too. According to C.G.S.A. § 46b-81(a)-(c), inheritance and gifts are not separate assets. However, how inheritance and gifts were handled and preserved by both parties is important. For example, if one spouse invested the other spouse’s inherited funds and increased it, the court may take it into consideration. Or, as another example, if one spouse inherited $50,000, whereas the total value of marital assets is over $1,000,000, the court may return a credit of $50,000 to that spouse.

Furthermore, debt is also part of marital assets and is subject to division. When dividing debts, the court carefully considers who acquired the debt and why, as well as a number of other factors.

As for health insurance, family members are not automatically deleted from insurance plans after a divorce is finalized. Throughout divorce proceedings, the status quo is maintained by court orders unless modified by a court order. After a divorce is finalized and the employer of the spouse gets notification of the action, the employer informs the divorced employee’s family members that they can continue insurance plans on their own under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). In turn, your health-plan administrator informs you whether you are eligible for COBRA benefits, and you either have to accept or decline it within 60 days. However, COBRA benefits are not long-term, so it is a good idea to find another insurance plan right away.

Mediation support in Fairfield County

Even if spouses choose to have no contest, they can still struggle with some issues. That is where mediation can help considerably with driving down the price for a divorce. Mediation is the involvement of a third party to inform the couple of available options and help them negotiate.

In Fairfield County, mediation support can be used at any stage of a divorce process as soon as spouses realize that they cannot resolve their disagreements. Mediation is not legal advice, but if the spouses choose, it can be used alongside legal representation.

Using the Connecticut Judiciary’s Mediation Programs / Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) webpage, you can better understand whether you should use mediation support right away and incorporate the results into your marital settlement agreement or wait for the court to assign mediation to the case.

How to file for divorce in Fairfield County | Step-by-Step

1

Make sure you meet the residence requirements and pick the type of divorce for your particular case. According to the Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 815j - Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation and Annulment Sec. 46b-44, CT, the plaintiff or the defendant must establish residency in the state for 12 months before filing the complaint with the court. If the spouses fail to meet the residency requirements for Connecticut before filing for divorce, the court will not enter a final decree until the 12-month residency is reached.
Please note that according to C.G.S. Sec. 46b-44(a), you can have a quick divorce referred to as ‘non-adversarial divorce’ if you do not have children together from the marriage, have been married for less than nine years, and do not own marital property valued over $80,000.

2

Clarify where to file and obtain the forms. In Connecticut, the plaintiff files the completed pleadings in the superior court for the judicial district where one of the spouses currently resides.
You can obtain the forms at the Connecticut Judiciary’s website, by visiting a local Superior Court Courthouse, or by using an online document preparation site like OnlineDivorce.com.
To make sure you know what to do, peruse self-help resources and the “Do It Yourself Divorce Guide” at The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch website.

3

Fill out the court forms. You need to fill out three forms: the complaint (informing the court of your personal information, your spouse’s personal information, children, grounds for divorce, your living arrangements, and whether you request support of any kind); a Family Actions Summons; Affidavit Concerning Children (if you have any), and a Notice of Automatic Court Orders.
Make two copies of each document and have all forms notarized.

4

File the forms and pay the filing fee. Bring the completed forms to the court clerk’s office for the clerk to review them and assign a case number.
You’ll be asked to pay a filing fee when you file the divorce papers. Those who cannot afford the fee can request a fee waiver by filing an “Application for Waiver of Fees.”
During the same visit to the clerk’s office, you will need to choose a date when the divorce proceedings begin, which is called a ”return date.”
After the filing is completed, you will need to serve the papers on your spouse.

5

Serve the defendant. In Connecticut, you do not need to decide how to serve your spouse. Divorce papers are served on defendants through the State Marshal's office. Go to the courthouse’s website and look through a list of marshal’s offices. The one in the judicial district where your spouse lives can do the job.
The state marshal charges a fee for serving (which can be waived alongside the filing fee). Upon completion of serving, the state marshal will bring you proof of service (a “Return of Service”) which you will file with the court.

6

Wait for the response. After your spouse receives the divorce papers, he or she is expected to file the Appearance form, which is a response. If your spouse fails to respond, you’ll have the opportunity to request a default divorce, continuing the divorce proceedings without your spouse’s participation.

7

Wait the determined time. At this stage you have two options. One option is to have “Divorce With an Agreement – Waive 90” where you can apply to have the required 90-day waiting period waived. In addition to the request, you and your spouse must submit financial affidavits in which you disclose your financial information, complete more forms, and attend a parenting education program.
The other option is to have a traditional divorce with a 90-day waiting period during which time you can resolve any remaining divorce-related issues. This is when spouses usually sign settlement agreements and attend parenting plans.

8

Choose a hearing date and attend a final hearing. You need to fill out a Case Management Agreement form, get a signature from your spouse (if it is not a default divorce) and file it with the clerk’s office. When you fill it out, you must indicate a hearing date to attend court and meet with a judge.
Should that form be absent from your case after the 90-day waiting period, you will show up to the court on your Case Management Date and the judge will schedule a hearing.
To finalize your divorce, you will need to appear at this divorce hearing where the judge will sign a divorce decree.

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Filing fees for divorce in Fairfield County

When you first come to the court to file your papers in Fairfield County, you will pay a $350 filing fee and $50 for service of the court papers.

If you come from a low-income household, you may qualify for a fee waiver. Clarify with the clerk whether you are eligible to go in forma pauperis.

How long will it take?

On average, a divorce in Fairfield County takes about four months. Here is the timeline.

The divorce proceeding officially starts on the ‘return date,’ after the defendant is served with the papers. A return date can take about four weeks after you file the initial complaint.

Next, you have to wait 90 days before you appear before the judge at the “case management date.” If you do everything correctly, you can schedule a final hearing date and have your divorce finalized.

However, there are two ways to have an expedited divorce in Connecticut that do not require couples to wait for three months.
The fastest way for getting a divorce in Fairfield County is to have a “non-adversarial divorce.” It allows couples to have a divorce in 35 days.

The second way is “Divorce With an Agreement – Waive 90.” It requires divorcing couples to file a motion for this type of divorce, disclose their financial information, and participate in a parenting education program if they have children together.

If the other spouse fails to respond to the divorce complaint and participate, the 90-day waiting period is also waived.

Also, remember that you have a better chance of minimizing the length of the divorce process, if you sign your settlement agreement in a timely manner. In some simple cases, spouses can draft a settlement agreement on their own. If the spouses have no minor children and no marital assets to divide, they can take any settlement agreement from the Internet and tweak it according to their needs.

Filing for divorce in Fairfield County | Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a divorce cost in Fairfield County, CT?
In Fairfield County, CT, the cost of a divorce is made up of the following elements:

  • Filing fee $350
  • Serving the divorce papers $50
  • Fee for a parenting education class $125
  • Motions in court $75-130

Possible additional expenses:

  • Publishing a notice in a newspaper
  • Attorney's fee
  • Mediator's fee
  • House appraisal fee
  • Paperwork preparation fee

Thus, the cost of divorce depends on the personal circumstances and requirements of your unique situation.

 

How to file for divorce in Fairfield County, CT without a lawyer?
OnlineDivorce.com works to assist divorcing couples in Fairfield County with having a DIY divorce without hiring legal counsel. Also, the Connecticut Judicial Branch provides extensive information and resources on how to represent oneself in a divorce case.

 

What forms are required for an uncontested divorce in Fairfield County, CT?
In addition to the Complaint, a Summons Family Actions, and a Notice of Automatic Court Orders, the plaintiff and the defendant also file in Fairfield County:

  • Appearance Form
  • Dissolution Agreement
  • Case Management Agreement/Order
  • Financial Affidavit
  • Affidavit Concerning Children
  • Dissolution of Marriage Report
  • Child Support Guideline Worksheet
  • Advisement of Rights

 

Can I file for legal separation in Fairfield County, CT?
Yes, Fairfield County provides an option of legal separation for couples who either want to have a "trial run", or want to stay married for religious or financial reasons. Unlike some other states, legal separation in Connecticut can last indefinitely, as separated couples are not required to make a final decision after a determined amount of time.

 

When is it allowed to remarry after a divorce?
You can remarry right after your divorce is finalized. In Fairfield County does not require ex-spouses to wait for any amount of time.

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  • We complete the necessary forms for clients based on their answers given in a simple guided online interview - clients do not need to understand family law or read through complicated instructions to figure out how to fill out the forms themselves.
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Divorce Courts in Fairfield County, Connecticut

Fairfield Judicial Distric Court
Court Address:
1061 Main Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06601
Phone:
203-579-6527
Clerk Hours:
9am-5pm