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Does fault impact property division in divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2023 | Family Law |

Couples seeking a divorce in Connecticut can choose to file a no-fault divorce. However, that is not their only option.

There are several fault grounds couples can choose to file under and these grounds may affect property division in the divorce.

Types of fault grounds

Connecticut law defines eight fault grounds for the dissolution of marriage:

  • Adultery
  • Willful desertion for at least one year
  • Habitual intemperance
  • Life sentence in prison or imprisonment of more than one year for an infamous crime
  • Legal confinement of at least five years due to mental illness

Affect of fault on property division

The law requires judges to divide property equitably in divorces, but this does not mean they must give each spouse an equal share. Instead, it means that judges must consider all of the relevant factors and decide what they think is fair.

The cause of the breakdown of the marriage is one of the factors judges may consider when deciding how to divide marital property. In some cases, if the judge believes one spouse is more responsible for the breakdown of the marriage than the other, the judge may decide to award a larger share of the marital property to the other spouse as compensation. Even when a couple files a no-fault divorce, judges may consider the cause of the breakdown when deciding how to distribute property.

Connecticut judges have wide discretion to decide how to equitably distribute property in a divorce. Fault alone will usually not determine property division but may play a role.