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Marriage and Civil Union are both a legal status that may only be dissolved by:
This means that if both parties to the marriage or Civil Union are still living and one or both parties wish to terminate the relationship, the parties must file an action for dissolution in the Superior Court. It is important to note that same-sex marriages and Civil Unions are not recognized by every state. Therefore, unlike a heterosexual marriage, gay and lesbian couples will not be able to obtain a dissolution (divorce) in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages or Civil Unions.
There are specific procedures for filing an action for dissolution. Select a category or question of interest below:
Connecticut General Statutes 46b-20 through 46b-89 govern marriages and civil unions. While there are many grounds on which you may file for dissolution, Connecticut also provides for “no-fault” dissolution. That means that you do not have to prove that your spouse is at fault, only that the marriage or civil union has “broken down irretrievably” and there is no hope of getting back together. Your spouse does not have to agree to dissolution in order for you to file for a dissolution. Only one person has to claim that the marriage or civil union has “irretrievably broken down.”
Under Connecticut law, there is a ninety-day waiting period from the time you commence the dissolution action until it becomes final. If your dissolution is complicated (for example, you have property or custody issues to resolve), the time it will take to finalize your dissolution may be longer than ninety days.
The commencement of a dissolution action requires that specific forms (including a Summons and Complaint, among others) be completed and served upon your spouse by a marshal. There are certain costs involved in filing for dissolution, which include the fee for the marshal to serve the Summons and Complaint (approximately $60 or more), as well as the court’s filing fee (currently $350.00). If you have minor children (under the age of 18), you are required to participate in a parenting education program. Under certain circumstances, you may motion the court to exempt you from such classes (for example, if your youngest child is nearly 18 at the time you file for dissolution). If you fall below certain income requirements, the court may grant you a waiver of some or all of the fees if you complete the proper application. Your attorney’s fees will vary, depending on the complexity of your particular case.
If you have minor children (under the age of 18) where both parties are legal parents of the children, the Court will address issues such as custody, visitation, child support and future educational support. Connecticut Child Support is based upon recognized guidelines and is not determined arbitrarily. Please see our Child Support page for more information on the topic of Child Support.
Depending upon a variety of circumstances, the issue of alimony (financial support of your spouse) may also be addressed.
This is not, by any means, an exhaustive list of issues that may arise in your dissolution action. Every set of circumstances has its own issues. A consultation with a licensed attorney may be helpful and should be able to answer your specific questions. For more information on the dissolution of a Connecticut same-sex marriage or Civil Union and your legal rights, contact an attorney at Gryk & Frolich LLC in Manchester, Connecticut.
Along with the Summons and Complaint, a Notice of Automatic Court Orders (form JD-FM-158) must be served upon the other party by a marshal. The following summarizes what each party can and cannot do while your dissolution is pending. Failure to obey the Automatic Court Orders may be punishable by being held in Contempt of Court.
If you object to the Automatic Court Orders or if you want them changed, you have the right to a hearing before a Judge within in a reasonable time, by filing a Motion to Modify these orders with the court clerk.
The following links are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice. Use of this information is not intended to and does not form an attorney/client relationship. The Gryk & Frolich LLc Law Office is not responsible for the content or accuracy of information on these websites.
Note that these materials generally refer to “divorce” rather than “civil union” — however, the same statutes and materials apply to Civil Unions.
You or your spouse MUST be a resident of Connecticut for 12 months in order for Connecticut courts to have jurisdiction over your divorce, legal separation or annulment. Our statutes clearly state that:
Sec. 46b-44(c) A decree dissolving a marriage or granting a legal separation may be entered if: (1) One of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for at least the twelve months next preceding the date of the filing of the complaint or next preceding the date of the decree; or (2) one of the parties was domiciled in this state at the time of the marriage and returned to this state with the intention of permanently remaining before the filing of the complaint; or (3) the cause for the dissolution of the marriage arose after either party moved into this state.
Establishing residency in Connecticut does NOT mean simply owning property in this state or using someone else’s Connecticut mailing address as your own. To establish residency in Connecticut, you (or your spouse) MUST live in this state. It is not enough to obtain a post office box — you must actually have a physical street address. As further proof that you have become a Connecticut resident, you should obtain a driver’s license (or State I.D. if you do not drive), register your motor vehicles here, pay state and local taxes in Connecticut, and register to vote here (be aware that you cannot be a resident of two states for voting purposes). The residency requirement applies to heterosexual couples as well as gay & lesbian couples. There are NO exceptions to the statutory rule that you (or your spouse) MUST be a Connecticut resident, so please do not call the office to ask how to avoid this requirement.
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