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No Fault Divorce in Connecticut

05/06/13 9:00 AM

Connecticut law does not require “fault” be found in order to order a divorce of the parties.  This means that the defendant must not have “done something” to cause the end of the marriage.  Of course, there are reasons for ordering a divorce which may be one person’s fault, but those will be addressed in a future post.

“The determination of whether a breakdown of a marriage is irretrievable is a question of fact to be determined by the trial court.” Eversman v. Eversman, 4 Conn. App. 611, 614, 496 A.2d 210 (1985).

This means it is a requirement of the plaintiff to put on a prima facie case in your divorce proceeding. This is typically done by your attorney who will ask you a series of questions on direct examination which result in the judge being able to determine that the marriage has broken down.

For no fault cases,  “A decree of dissolution of a marriage . . . 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 . . . .” Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-40(c)(2008).

Further:  “Incompatibility of personalities is not and has never been a ground for divorce in Connecticut. Under our law, married persons are expected to accept the ordinary vicissitudes of marriage caused by unwise mating, unhappy situations, unruly tempers and common quarrels or marital wranglings.” Nowak v. Nowak, 23 Conn. Sup. 495, 497, 185 A.2d 83 (1962).

“The absence of objective guidelines does not mean an abdication of judicial function, nor does it signal, as the defendant argues, that a court determining whether a marriage has in fact irretrievably broken down is acting purely ministerially or is granting a divorce ‘upon demand.’ It does, however, sustain the trial court’s conclusion that the defendant’s decision to rearrange his business ventures after the initiation of divorce proceedings does not necessarily repair the rupture in the marital relationship that had previously occurred.” Joy v. Joy, 178 Conn. 254, 255-256, 423 A.2d 895 (1979).

Irretrievable breakdown:  “In 1973, by No. 73-373 of the 1973 Public Acts (P.A. 73-373), the legislature effected an historic revision of our marital dissolution statutes. That legislation introduced certain new concepts to our family law, such as the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage as a ground for dissolution.” Doe v. Doe, 244 Conn. 403, 433, 710 A.2d 1297 (1998).

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101, Court Process, Plaintiff | Comments Off on No Fault Divorce in Connecticut

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