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Connecticut Divorce 101

Dividing Debt in Connecticut Divorce

Sep. 23rd 2013

purse in hand

Filing for divorce will not solve any debt issues that you and your spouse have. This is because debt is divided between the spouses in a divorce.  You and your spouse will share the responsibility for any debts that you accumulated over the course of your marriage. This includes joint loans, joint tax returns, or anything else that you and your spouse signed together.  These debts will be considered joint debt and will be divided between you accordingly. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all debt is joint debt. Any debts that belonged to one spouse before the marriage took place will be considered individual debt, not joint debt.  Some of the biggest debts that you and your spouse have accumulated, such as mortgages and credit card debt, may concern you and your spouse.  However, many judges will try to be as accommodating with the division of debt as possible.

Depending upon the state that you live in, communal debts might not be divided equally, however, a judge will always try to make the division of the debt fair. A few states have adopted communal property laws, in which all assets and debts accumulated during the marriage are split 50-50, regardless of financial standings.  However, Connecticut is not a state that abides by communal property laws. In the Connecticut court system, judges consider who is in a better position to pay the debt. As a result, one spouse may be paying more money than another. Regardless, both spouses will most likely pay at least some of the debt, and it is important to keep track of the money that you owe and pay towards joint debts.

As soon as you realize that your marriage is ending, you should cancel any joint credit cards that you and your spouse have so that the balance does not increase. At this point, you want to begin building individual credit by obtaining credit cards apart from your spouse. It is important to do this because the credit that you accumulated while you were married might not be applicable to you once you are divorced. If you had a lot of joint accounts, this might be the case. As a result, you might have to reapply for credit individually and can deny or extend your credit on that individual basis.  In some cases, this will be a blessing (for instance, if you and your spouse accumulated a lot of debt together). However, if you had a good credit score and worked hard to maintain it during your marriage, it can be devastating to find yourself starting over.

Joint debt will be divided in a similar way that joint assets are divided in a divorce. Both parties will receive a fair amount of assets and debt given their individual financial standings. If you or your spouse has individual debt, you will each be responsible for this debt at the end of the divorce. If you are unsure of the joint debt that you and your spouse have, or how it will be divided in court, a divorce lawyer can help answer these questions. You can contact me here for advice or if you are looking for legal representation.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101 | Comments Off on Dividing Debt in Connecticut Divorce

Dividing Assets in Connecticut Divorce

Sep. 18th 2013

Two hands trying to divide house, isolated

Divorce brings with it many decisions that you probably thought you would never have to face. One such difficult decision is how to fairly divide the assets that you and your spouse have acquired over the course of your relationship. In cases where the couple was not married for a long period of time, this can be fairly easy. However, for marriages in which many assets were accumulated over a long period of time, the task of dividing everything up can be daunting. It is important to keep in mind that there are several ways to go about dividing assets. The process does not have to be as painful as it seems.

If possible, you should consider dividing your assets with your spouse outside of court. If you and your spouse face a fairly amicable divorce, and you think that you can sort through your property on your own, this could save a lot of time, money, and stress. If you decide to take your case to court, a judge will make the final decision in regards to who is entitled to what. Keeping the negotiation out of court can give you more power over what you keep because the decisions will be made between you and your spouse, and you won’t have the legally binding input of a judge.

You can settle your divorce outside of court on your own or with the help of a third party, such as a mediator.  Mediators are meant to help a couple reach a compromise concerning what they want and don’t want in the divorce.  The mediator is an unbiased third party who listens to the desires of both spouses. After considering the interests of both parties, a mediator will propose an agreement on how to split up assets and debt.  If the agreement is satisfactory to both parties, they can sign the agreement and it will go into effect.

However, if it is not possible to divide the assets amongst yourselves, you can go to court and a judge will decide who keeps what using state law rules in order to divide the property.  In court, your assets will be divided based on equitable distribution, meaning that the assets will be divided in a way that the judge deems fair. This does not necessarily mean that your assets will be divided equally. If one spouse has a better financial standing than the other, this will be taken into account when considering the “fairest” distribution. Marital property is the only property that will be considered for equitable distribution.  Marital property includes all assets and earnings accumulated over the course of the marriage. Separate property, on the other hand, includes all personal property obtained before the marriage took place as well as inheritance or gifts given to one spouse.

If you need help dividing your assets in divorce, you should contact an experienced divorce attorney in Connecticut. Whether you decide to divide your assets in or outside of court, a divorce lawyer can help ensure that you get the assets that you are entitled to.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101 | Comments Off on Dividing Assets in Connecticut Divorce

Does Cheating Matter?

Sep. 16th 2013

Couple Fighting

In some cases, people decide to file for divorce due to a reason recognized by the state, also known as grounds for divorce. While states such as Connecticut accept no-fault divorces, in which neither spouse takes responsibility for the causes of the divorce, grounds for divorce are still called upon if one spouse can prove in court that the other spouse is responsible for reasons that led to the dissolution of the marriage. Grounds for divorce include cruelty, desertion, and adultery. Many people who are considering filing for divorce wonder how their partner’s infidelity will affect the divorce case. Many spouses see cheating as the ultimate betrayal, and want the court system to punish cheating spouses for breaking the marital bond.

In the past, adultery was a more serious matter than it is today. If one spouse could prove that the other committed adultery in court, the cheating spouse would be at-fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Fault for a divorce played a role in the awarding of support or alimony and who received assets and property from the marital estate.  Today, the existence of adultery doesn’t impact a case as much as it used to. It is not a judge’s job to condemn a cheating spouse for his or her moral transgression. While a judge may feel sympathy for the spouse who was cheated on, a judge cannot let those feelings guide the resolution of the case. In addition, committing adultery does not automatically make a spouse a bad parent, meaning that even if your spouse cheats on you, there is no guarantee that you will receive full custody of your children. In fashioning a settlement or decision, the court looks to the equities involved. A judge will consider who contributed what to the family, and how the result should be divided in a fair manner.

Learning that your spouse has cheated on you can be devastating. You might find yourself in personal turmoil, wondering how you will recover from this betrayal. However, in a Connecticut divorce, cheating will not influence the case as much as it did in the past. You will probably have much more compelling legal arguments to make in court. A smart divorce lawyer considers all avenues, sometimes pursuing adultery as a cause for legal tactical advantages, sometimes pursuing more compelling arguments.  If you are dealing with a cheating spouse and you feel that divorce is eminent, you should contact us to see how it will impact your case.  Every case is different, and no universal standard applies, so it is in your best interest to contact us for help with your personal case.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101, Grounds for Divorce | Comments Off on Does Cheating Matter?

Pendente Lite Motions

Sep. 11th 2013

After the return date, the divorce process will begin. Your attorney can advocate for your best interests by filling out forms and filing requests with the court. Court orders are meant to protect you and your interests during the divorce process. In some cases, these requests may be resolved by agreement, however in some cases, they may require a hearing in front of the judge. Whether the court orders are resolved inside or outside of court, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced Connecticut divorce lawyer to help you through the process.

Any pending court case could have pendente lite motions involved (as “pendente lite” means “pending litigation” in Latin). Pendente lite motions are commonly included in divorce cases. A lawyer can help you file pendente lite motions if this is deemed necessary during the process of your divorce. These requests can include alimony, child custody, bill payments, visitation, or other matters that should be addressed immediately. These court orders last for the period of the divorce proceedings until final judgment. These motions are considered standard pendente lite motions for divorce cases. Every divorce attorney should know how to file these motions.  Many attorneys will customize pendente lite motions to fit your case if your case contains special circumstances.

When most people are served with divorce papers, they are also served with pendente lite motions. This can be overwhelming and confusing. The most important thing is to remember not to panic. You will have time to consult with a divorce attorney and make the right decision for you. If you have been served with pendente lite motions, or if you want to file these motions, you will need the assistance of an experienced Connecticut divorce lawyer. You can click here for a free consultation with me if you have further questions.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101 | Comments Off on Pendente Lite Motions

Connecticut Return Date

Sep. 2nd 2013

Deciding to file for divorce can be difficult. You might feel confused, frustrated, and unsure of your decision. However, if you do decide to take the step to file for divorce, you should take the time to understand the divorce process. Immediately following the day that you file, the state of Connecticut allows for a “cooling off period”, in which both parties must decide if they want to proceed with the divorce or if they still want to try to salvage their marriage. If during the cooling off period, one or both parties decide that they do not want the divorce, it is fairly easy to end the process and continue the marriage. However, once this period is over, the divorce will proceed and it becomes harder to end the divorce process.

The Connecticut return date refers to the date on which the 90-day waiting period for a divorce begins. The return date marks the deadline for filing certain papers, and the date by which the defendant should file an appearance. On the return date, no one has to appear in court becomes nothing occurs in court.  However, by this date the summons and complaint must be turned in to to the clerk’s office by the plaintiff to show that the divorce papers were properly served.  If you are the defendant in the case, you should file an appearance by the return date, however there is no hearing scheduled for that date and you do not have to physically appear in court.

The return date is always a Tuesday in civil and family cases. To learn more about the return date and other aspects of the divorce process, you should contact a Connecticut divorce attorney. Because divorce lawyers are experienced with divorce cases and knowledgeable about divorce law, these people can help you through the process and answer any questions that you may have. If you are interested in a free consultation with a Connecticut divorce lawyer, you can contact me by clicking here.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101 | Comments Off on Connecticut Return Date

Case Management Agreement

Sep. 2nd 2013

Writing

If you are going through a divorce, it will be helpful for you to familiarize yourself with the steps involved in this process. One aspect of the process that you should understand fully before going through a divorce is everything that is associated with the case management date. Similar to the return date, a case management date occurs toward the beginning of the divorce process.

Much like for the return date, you don’t have to appear in court on the case management date, unless you and your soon-to-be ex spouse are disputing custody of your children. Instead, it is a date by which you and your spouse must file a case management agreement with the court. Because the case return date in Connecticut always falls on a Tuesday, the case management date is always on a Monday. This date will also be noted in the Notice of Automatic Court Orders. The case management agreement form notifies the court about the status of the case and scheduling plans. You can set up the case management date with the court clerk after 90 days since your return date have passed. The case management date is often also the earliest date by which spouses can proceed with an uncontested final hearing and obtain their divorce. In some cases, mediated and collaborative divorces are settled and ready for an uncontested final hearing by the case management date. In more difficult cases where both parties cannot come to an agreement, the case management agreement might take longer to reach, prolonging the divorce.

You can access the case management agreement form here. If you have any questions concerning your divorce or the case management agreement, you can contact me for a free consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have at this time or assist you in filling out this form. To contact me, click here.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101 | Comments Off on Case Management Agreement

Same-sex Divorce

Aug. 28th 2013

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Connecticut since 2008. Not all states accept same-sex marriages, so this is a big step for Connecticut. However, because same-sex marriage is so new, the same-sex divorce laws still need development.  This presents challenges for couples seeking a same-sex divorce that heterosexual couples do not face, namely, residency issues  and child custody problems. 

The right to obtain a divorce in Connecticut hinges on two factors. The first factor is that both parties have a legal relationship that is recognized by the state they seek the divorce in. The second factor is the necessity of meeting the state’s residency requirements. A same-sex couple that gets married in Connecticut will be able to obtain a divorce in Connecticut as long as at least one of the parties still resides in Connecticut at the time of the divorce. For same-sex couples that came to Connecticut solely to get married, the residency requirements won’t be met, meaning that you won’t be able to get your divorce in Connecticut. On the other hand, if you and your spouse were married and lived in Connecticut, but you moved to another state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, you won’t be considered legally married there. As a result, if you wish to separate, you won’t have to go through the divorce process because you won’t be considered legally married to begin with. In this case, you will have to divide your assets, debt, and child custody without the help of a court. If this is the case, you can still consult with a divorce attorney in order to get help with an unofficial divorce.

Child custody can also become complex. Both custody and support enforcement may become difficult because not all states recognize same-sex agreements. As a result, an accepted upon agreement in Connecticut may not be recognized in another state, creating a frustrating situation when trying to divide child custody. Determining child custody becomes especially difficult if a gay couple adopted children. In some cases, only one spouse may legally adopt a child, so in a divorce, only that one spouse will have custody claims. The other spouse will have to make claims for child visitation or custody under third party visitation rights. This could be difficult if both spouses raised the child and want to have custody of him or her.

There is no universal law for same-sex divorce in America, since same-sex marriage is not accepted in all states. This can cause problems for same-sex couples in states such as Connecticut who wish to divorce in a quick, cost-effective, painless manner.  Just as it is difficult to get a same-sex marriage, it is equally if not more difficult to file for same-sex divorce. For this reason, it is important for couples involved in same-sex divorce to consult an experienced Connecticut divorce lawyer. This can make the process much less stressful.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101 | Comments Off on Same-sex Divorce

Filing for Divorce First in Connecticut

Aug. 12th 2013

Divorce in Connecticut-LadyDivorce.com

If you feel that your marriage is coming to an end, you are probably confused, frustrated, and at a loss for how to proceed. Many of my clients who feel that they are in a marriage where divorce is imminent come to me with questions about beginning the divorce process. One of the most common questions that I get from people considering divorce is, “Should I file first?”

Being the one to file for divorce will not give you any legal advantages. However, there are other reasons why you might want to file for divorce before your spouse does. The person that files first will have the advantage of making the decision to enter the divorce process. If you file first, you don’t have to wait for your spouse to make a decision and sit around wondering if or when your spouse is going to file. Instead, you can prepare for the divorce by knowing exactly when the process will begin, since you will be the one filing the papers. This will give you time to get your affairs in order before and make a plan for your future.

Filing first will give you the opportunity to consult with various attorneys before the divorce process is too far along. By being proactive you can meet with several different lawyers before determining the best one for you. Taking your time to pick the best attorney for you will put your mind at ease and make the overall divorce process much less stressful. In addition, by filing for divorce first you will be prepared for the financial costs of divorce. You will have time to consult with an accountant or a financial planner in order to determine how you will pay for the divorce and how you will support yourself once the divorce is finalized. Having this plan can greatly help you in the long run.

Divorce can be overwhelming for both the person who files and the person who is served, but as the person who files you won’t be blindsided by the divorce and you will have time to get your affairs in order and begin to think about the future. However, keep in mind that filing for divorce first will not directly help you win a custody battle or receive the assets that you want to get out of the divorce. The best way to prepare for the divorce and  be satisfied with the result of the divorce is to hire an excellent Connecticut divorce attorney. If you are interested in a free consultation in order to discuss your individual case, click here.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101 | Comments Off on Filing for Divorce First in Connecticut

How to Divorce in Connecticut

Jul. 31st 2013

Confused Older Student

Divorce is a major life event that anyone in the United States can have the right to file for.  However, the laws and regulations regarding how to file for divorce and the process of divorce will vary from state to state.  In the state of Connecticut, there are specific grounds that you can file for divorce under.  Once reviewing these grounds and feeling that you want a divorce, there are certain rules that apply if you want to get a divorce in the state of Connecticut.  One spouse must be a resident of Connecticut for at least a year before the divorce can be finalized.  This will particularly apply to same-sex couples seeking a divorce in Connecticut or any other state that allows gay divorce.  Other reasons to be eligible for divorce in Connecticut are if one spouse lived in Connecticut at the time of the marriage or if grounds for divorce arose in the state of Connecticut.  If any of these apply to you, you are eligible to have your divorce processed in Connecticut.

The divorce process in Connecticut will begin when one spouse files a summons and complaint with the Supreme Court in the district where he or she lives.  After this is filed, a 90-day cooling off period will ensue, during which the claim for divorce can be revoked.  Over the course of this 90-day period, temporary assistance can be requested of the court by either spouse.  Child custody and child support, as well as alimony are some examples of what the court can help you with.  If a restraining order is needed in more violent cases, it can be obtained during this period.

After this cooling off period is completed, you and your spouse are required to do two things.  The first is that you must sign a document saying that your marriage is irrevocably broken.  Secondly, you must make this claim in court.  At this point your assets will be divided, including property, debt, and any other marital property.  If communication is at all possible, you should try to maintain it with your spouse and sit down with him or her in order to divide your assets calmly.  The process will be much easier if you are both willing to compromise.  Child custody, support, and visitation will be discussed at this point, it you and your spouse have any children together.

This is a basic outline of the steps that you must take in order to get a divorce in the state of Connecticut, but you should also talk to an attorney who can give you a better estimate of details specific to your case as well as a rough time estimate for how long the process will take.  If you are looking to file for divorce, familiarize yourself with this process so that you can experience as quick and painless a divorce as possible.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101, Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to Divorce in Connecticut

Restraining and Protective Orders in Connecticut

Jul. 10th 2013

Sad couple having conflict

In Connecticut, there are two types of Restraining Orders:

A Temporary (ex parte) Restraining Order is a court order designed to provide you and your family members with immediate protection from your abuser. “Ex Parte” means that you can get the Order without your abuser present in court. If the judge grants you a Temporary Restraining Order, s/he will also schedule a hearing within 14 days. Your Temporary (ex parte) Restraining Order will protect you from the time you file for the Restraining Order until your full court hearing for a long-term Order can take place.

Your Temporary (ex parte) Restraining Order is in effect the day that it is signed. The accused abuser can be arrested if s/he disobeys the order after receiving notice of it.

Note: If you are in the middle of a divorce, the court may want to hear from the other side before giving a Restraining Order.

A Permanent Restraining Order can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to tell your sides of the story. It is designed to stop violent and harassing behavior and to protect you and your family from the abuser. It lasts up to six months, but can be extended.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101, Court Process, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Restraining and Protective Orders in Connecticut