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Connecticut Family Law Blog

What Connecticut Courts Look At When Awarding Alimony

Alimony is important to each party getting divorced. Whether you think you will be paying or receiving alimony, it is always a big consideration when contemplating filing for divorce.

In Connecticut, alimony is awarded when one party to the divorce makes a significant amount of money less than the other. If both partners make the same amount, don't expect alimony to be awarded unless there is some kind of a special circumstance. However, the usual situation is that one spouse makes a significant amount more than the other and he/she is entitled to alimony. So what do the Connecticut courts consider when awarding alimony? The main factors are: the gap in any wages and assets earned among the spouses, age, health, length of the marriage, the reason for the breakdown of the marriage, several factors re: the earning capacity of the receiving party (can he/she work? does he/she have any experience working?) and any other facts a Judge finds fair on a case-by-case scenario.

Technology precautions to take during a divorce

There are a million things to remember, figure out and deal with when going through a divorce. One of the things that should be on that list is to take precautions when it comes to technology. Technological advances have improved human lives significantly in Connecticut and across the globe, but technology can also lead to trouble, especially for someone going through a divorce. Here are a few steps to take to keep technology as an asset instead of a liability during divorce.

The most obvious and crucially important first step is to change all passwords. Couples that have been married and know even the most obscure facts about each other's lives may know what each other's go-to passwords are. This bit of information can be highly detrimental in the long run. With that information a former spouse may have access to banking information, shopping accounts, social media and even online dating sites. To avoid the mountainous list of ways a vengeful ex can use this information, change all passwords -- even for sites that weren't shared -- to unique passwords that don't involve family member names, pet names or other subjects easy for a former spouse to guess.

When should you ask the courts to increase your child support?

Securing a divorce decree at the end of a Connecticut divorce doesn't necessarily mean that everything is completely over. Many times, particularly in families with children, there will be cause to return to the court in the future. Even if you don't have kids, if you receive spousal support, you may find yourself back in court to review the original support amounts eventually.

The courts will periodically review the support every few years to ensure it is still reasonable and necessary. However, it is also possible for you or the person paying the support to ask the courts to review the amounts because of a change in circumstances. Both the person receiving support and the person paying support have the right to request a review.

What "in the child's best interest" means regarding child custody

When considering a child custody arrangement, Connecticut family courts always try to determine what is in the child's best interest. What really does "in the child's best interest" mean? There are several factors that are considered when determining the best child custody arrangement for a child.

The first consideration is whether a parent has the ability to raise a child. This includes providing both physical and emotional needs. In addition to being able to provide basic human needs such as food and clothing, a judge is more likely to approve the custody by a parent who has been an uninterrupted active participant in the child's life and has shown an interest in the child's activities and development. The parent's physical and mental abilities will also be considered.

I'm going through a messy divorce - what documents do I have to give to my spouse? What documents does my spouse have to share with me?

Figuring out how much property a married couple owns and getting an accurate picture of the family finances is an essential part of the divorce process. The procedure for gathering and providing this information to the other side is known as "discovery." There are several ways to obtain discovery. The first is by way of a request for disclosure and production where the parties ask for certain items from each other. Another method is through interrogatories, which is a list of questions that you send to the opposing side. Sometimes depositions are used in divorce cases. During a deposition, sworn testimony is taken from a party and any witnesses involved, and anything said during a deposition can be used in court. A written list of facts, known as admissions of facts, is served on a party asking that party to either admit to or deny each fact.

Sole physical child custody may not be best for the children

The common practice in Connecticut family courts these days is to work toward joint physical custody when parents are divorcing. That doesn't mean, however, that joint custody is what is always wanted by the parents or what is best for the children. Sole physical child custody is highly sought-after and frequently requested by parents. With any custody arrangements, including sole physical custody, there are pros and cons. Parents should consider all the consequences of the arrangement when they are determining what is best for their family.

Sole physical custody refers to an arrangement in which the children live with one parent all of the time or at least more than with the other parent. The children still usually have a considerable amount of visitation time with the noncustodial parent. In the United States one quarter of children are in a sole custody situation.

Getting Divorced? Read This Before You Move Out

In today's world television, movies and reality shows display that the moment a divorce is filed one of the parties must move out of the home. In Connecticut, this is not true. Both of the parties have the right to stay in the home throughout the entire divorce (even if it's awkward). One of the only exceptions when someone can kick their soon to be ex out of the house is when there is domestic abuse and/or violence.

But let's say you're ready to get out of the family home ASAP, when should you leave? Well, the answer depends on whether you have children or not. If you do not have kids, then you can (if you want) move out at any time or you can stay in the house until the divorce is finalized. However, if you have a child or children who live with you and your spouse a temporary custody and visitation agreement should be in place before you get your new oasis. Why? Because Connecticut Courts don't like to see one parent move out of the home without a custody and visitation plan in place. Some courts have even found moving out while the kids are in the family house to be "abandonment" of the children! 

Is sole legal child custody a good thing?

When the time to determine child custody arises, there are two aspects that must be agreed upon: physical and legal custody. Physical custody deals with whose home the children live in. Legal custody, however, deals with which parent has the legal right to make major decisions about the child. Some divorcing parents in Connecticut automatically assume they want to have sole legal custody of their children, but there are pros and cons to this type of child custody arrangement to consider.

When a parent wants sole legal custody, he or she is assuming the complete responsibility of making major decisions for the child. This may include subjects such as health care, religion and education. There are times this ability would be beneficial, especially if the second parent lives some distance away.

What happens to a life insurance policy during divorce?

When going through a divorce, there seems to be a million details that have to be sorted out. From living arrangements and child custody to division of the movie collection, the specifics of dividing two intertwined lives is exhausting, at least. One item that is often overlooked or dismissed during the chaos of divorce is life insurance. What happens to a life insurance policy when a Connecticut couple divorces? Can the ex-spouse still be the beneficiary?

All life insurance policies have a named beneficiary. When the policy holder is married the beneficiary is normally the person's spouse. This helps the spouse financially in the event of the insured's death. It allows him or her to be able to continue paying bills and necessary expenses the other spouse is no longer there to assist with.

Is mediation a way for you to set reasonable custody terms?

If you are about to go through a divorce, your number one concern is probably protecting your parenting relationship with your children. Everyone has heard horror stories about a divorce gone wrong, where one parent gets custody and punishes the other by refusing them even visitation. The good news is that most modern couples don't have to worry about that specific outcome.

The courts in Connecticut specifically focus on the best interest of the children involved. In other words, they focus on what will be best for the kids, not the parents. Typically, the best interests of minor children includes maintaining a relationship with both parents.

We Listen, We Help, We Care

  • Thank you Jennifer for handling my divorce. Everything is going well. Get to spend lots of time so far with my boys that makes me happy. Thanks to you again; I wish you and your firm lots of success from this day forward. All the best.
  • Wendy helped guide us through a very difficult and emotional process and was really able to provide an even and fair account for both parties. It's quite evident in her expertise in this area but the way she was able to make you feel safe and secure in a very insecure time goes far beyond her legal prowess. If the two parties are really willing to cooperate and collaborate, she's there to help gain the best possible solution for all involved, especially if there are children.
  • Regardless of how committed one is to the fact that divorce may be imminent and necessary, it is truly one of the most emotional and stressful situations one can experience. It can also be daunting. Wendy has a remarkable ability to cut through the noise and help you focus on the big picture while drilling down on what is most pertinent to your particular situation., they are a formidable team who work collectively with your best interests in mind.
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