Nonadversarial divorce in Connecticut

By Edward Jurkiewicz
In October 11, 2015
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Effective October 1, 2015, Public Act # 15-7 took effect. It remains to be seen whether the act’s provisions will become known as “quickie divorce” or “fast-track divorce”. The act allows final dissolution judgments to be obtained in certain cases in which there is a complete agreement in 30  days or less.

Generally, there is a “waiting period” of ninety days from the return date, before the court has jurisdiction to enter a final dissolution judgment. For many years, this has been applicable in all dissolution and annulment cases, without exception.

Public Act 15-7 sets forth two distinct fast-track possibilities:

1-) No asset/ no children cases      There is a laundry list of qualifying conditions, including that the duration of the marriage cannot exceed 8 years, neither party has any interest in real property or a pension, the value of the combined assets for both parties is less than $35,000, and no children were born to or adopted by the parties prior to or during the marriage. If the qualifying conditions are met, the parties may commence a dissolution proceeding by filing a joint petition containing the notarized attestation of both parties that all conditions are met. Financial affidavits for both parties must be filed with the petition, and a settlement agreement may be filed. If the court, upon review, determines that the parties’ agreement is fair and equitable, and if neither party changes their mind and filed a notice of revocation, the court may enter a judgment dissolving the marriage without the need for anyone to attend court on the “disposition date”, which may not be less than 30 days after the filing of the petition. If the court cannot make that determination, the act provides that “the matter shall be docketed for the court’s review”, presumably a hearing.

Obviously, these provisions will apply to only a limited number of cases, but they do present an efficient and cost-effective means of resolving those cases that do qualify. Even though a properly-prepared case will probably not require a court appearance, it is important to utilize the services of an attorney, or an attorney-mediator, to ensure that the case is prepared correctly.

2-) Where complete agreement on all issues is reached within 90 days after the return date   The act also provides that, in any case, the 90-day waiting period may be waived by the court upon the filing of a motion in which both parties attest, under oath, that they have a complete agreement as to all issues. The case then proceeds to an uncontested dissolution hearing.

I think this is a great option for the handful of cases in which a complete agreement on all issues can be negotiated very quickly. But the policy concerns underlying the 90-day waiting period (including that both parties should have time to carefully consider all the issues), are legitimate and important. I often see cases in which one spouse attempts to pressure the other into a quick settlement, which is often contrary to their best interests. Parties should make sure they have legal counsel and a fully-negotiated separation agreement before attesting that they have a complete agreement and waiving the 90-day waiting period.

For additional information about divorce in Connecticut, please visit my website at http://www.ljct-lawyers.com/practice-areas/divorce, or call (860) 299-6263 to schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney in the Farmington Valley area.

Hartford area bankruptcy attorney and divorce lawyer Edward P. Jurkiewicz has over 20 years of experience representing clients. Our firm represents debtors and creditors and handles both relatively simple divorces and bankruptcies and more complex litigation matters. With this depth of experience, our firm is able to anticipate and prepare for any potential issues that could arise in your bankruptcy, divorce or family matter.

CONTACT US TODAY AT 860-299-6263

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