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Grounds for 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?

Willful Desertion as Grounds for Divorce

Aug. 14th 2013

Upset Teenage Girl With Friends Gossiping In Background

When one person decides to file for divorce, some states require that this person have a legal reason for filing for divorce. This type of divorce is referred to as fault-based divorce, in which one spouse is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage.  When there are grounds for divorce, the process is much simpler and quicker than if there are no grounds for divorce, for instance when dealing with a no-fault divorce.  One grounds for divorce is willful desertion. While you can file for a no-fault divorce in the state of Connecticut, willful desertion is one type of grounds for divorce accepted in the state.

Willful desertion is considered grounds for divorce because it is the abandonment of one spouse by another. Willful desertion is defined as “the willful absenting of one party to the marriage contract from the society of the other, coupled with the intention on the part of the absenting party to live apart, in spite of the wish of the other, and not to return to cohabitation,” (Casale v. Casale, 138 Conn. 490, 492, 86 A.2d 568 (1952)).  As opposed to separation, in which two spouses live apart but they both give their consent to do so, willful desertion occurs when one spouse decides to live apart from his or her spouse despite the fact that the other spouse does not want to. Likewise, if your spouse no longer lives with you due to incarceration or some kind of forced separation, it is not considered willful desertion. The desertion by your spouse must be voluntary in order for you to make a case for willful desertion as grounds for divorce.

Willful desertion can be considered cause for divorce in the following situations: “(1) cessation from cohabitation; (2) an intention on the part of the absenting party not to resume it; (3) the absence of the other party’s consent; and (4) absence of justification,” (Gannon v. Gannon, 130 Conn. 449, 450, 35 A.2d 204 (1943)).  Keep in mind that in order to receive a divorce based on willful desertion, you must be able to prove the desertion in court. This means you must prove each of the elements listed above in order to make a case for willful desertion in court. In order to prove willful desertion as grounds for divorce, you will need evidence of the desertion.

If you believe that you have been willful deserted, you deserve a divorce. In order to build evidence and prove your case in court, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced divorce attorney. Divorce attorneys are familiar with at-fault divorce cases and can therefore guide you during the divorce process to ensure that you are able to build a strong case. Our initial consultation is always free and we can answer your questions about divorce before you make the final decision. Together, we can make the right decisions concerning your case to make this process cheaper and easier.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Grounds for Divorce | Comments Off on Willful Desertion as Grounds for Divorce

Grounds for a Divorce in Connecticut

May. 29th 2013

There are 10 reasons set for in the statutes which govern divorces in Connecticut.

Grounds for Dissolution of Marriage, Civil Union or Legal Separation

“A decree of dissolution of a marriage or a decree of legal separation shall be granted upon a finding that one of the following causes has occurred:

(1)     The marriage has broken down irretrievably;

(2)     the parties have lived apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous period of at least the eighteen months immediately prior to the service of the complaint and that there is no reasonable prospect that they will be reconciled;

(3)     adultery;

(4)     fraudulent contract;

(5)     willful desertion for one year with total neglect of duty;

(6)     seven years’ absence, during all of which period the absent party has not been heard from;

(7)     habitual intemperance;

(8)     intolerable cruelty;

(9)     sentence to imprisonment for life or the commission of any infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty and punishable by imprisonment for a period in excess of one year;

(10)  legal confinement in a hospital or hospitals or other similar institution or institutions, because of mental illness, for at least an accumulated period totaling five years within the period of six years next preceding the date of the complaint.”  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-40(c) (2008).

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101, Grounds for Divorce | Comments Off on Grounds for a Divorce in Connecticut