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The Divorce Process

If you’ve decided that you want to file for a divorce, you will now enter the divorce process. There can be a lot of uncertainty associated with the divorce process. This page will discuss many of the important aspects of the process that you should familiarize yourself with. If you need more assistance, contact my office.

Am I Ready for Divorce?

If you’ve been contemplating divorce for some time, you want to be completely confident in your decision before you file for divorce. For this reason, it is important to deeply consider what divorce will mean for you and your family, and if it is truly the right decision for you. To help you reflect on your relationship with your spouse and determine if your relationship is truly over, consider the following questions.

What is the Source of Your Unhappiness?

If you are contemplating getting a divorce, chances are that you are unhappy in your marriage. However, it is important to identify the reason why you are unhappy. Does your unhappiness stem from a lack of intimacy with your spouse? If this is the case, divorce may not necessarily be the right step to take – instead, you and your spouse can work on developing a stronger bond and creating a more equal partnership. However, if you are unhappy due to abuse, infidelity, constant fighting, or a lack of love, divorce might be the right choice for you.

What Will the Consequences of Your Divorce Be?

In some cases, divorce can be messy. Consider what divorce will mean for your children, your spouse, and the rest of your family. Do you truly think that you will be better off in the long run, or is divorce an option you are considering just to make you temporarily happier? If you don’t feel prepared for a change in finances, income, housing arrangements, custody arrangements, then you should not file for a divorce. Plan ahead, accept the difficulties that divorce can bring, and if you still wish to proceed with your divorce, you know that it is the right decision for you.

Is Divorce a Threat?

In marital arguments, divorce is oftentimes threatened. If you find yourself threatening divorce in the heat of the moment, this is clearly an emotional reaction to a disagreement, and not something that you have rationally thought through. Divorce should be based on a lot of thought and planning, not something that you casually throw out in the middle of an argument. If you find yourself threatening divorce while fighting with your spouse, you probably haven’t thought it through yet and should take some time to reflect before making any more plans.

Can You be Mature About Your Divorce?

The way that you view your divorce will impact the divorce process, your life after divorce, and who you are as a person. Many people go into a divorce feeling bitter, resentful, and vengeful. If this happens, prepare for a difficult divorce. If you have children with your spouse and you share custody, your life after divorce will be extremely difficult if you cannot let go of your anger.

On the other hand, if you can view your divorce in a rational way and refrain from blaming your spouse, the entire process will be much easier, as this will allow you to communicate with and respect your spouse even after the divorce is final. For your own emotional and physical well-being, coming to an understanding with your spouse regarding your divorce and letting go of resentment will be important.

Divorce is an important decision that you should take seriously. Finding the root of your desire to get a divorce will help you understand yourself, your relationship with your spouse, and your needs more fully. For this reason, it is important not to rush into a divorce and make sure that it is the right decision for you.

Pre Divorce Steps

The purpose of marriage is to take two separate lives and meld them into one. This makes divorce difficult, and in some cases, seemingly impossible. There are so many things to consider. Finances, child custody, assets, property – the list goes on and on. You want to make sure that you get what you are entitled to out of the divorce. And your spouse is doing the same thing. Most likely, you are going to butt heads, waste time, money, and energy. This section will go over some pre divorce steps.  

Tips

In order to save yourself some trouble, keep this in mind; you never want to enter the divorce process unprepared. By the time you file for divorce, you should already have a plan to help you divide your assets and debt. The plan should also help you get back on your feet once the divorce is finalized. You need to start thinking about the legal and financial ramifications of your divorce.

Begin looking into individual health care, because you will need it once you are no longer married. In addition, you’re going to have a ton of paperwork to gather. Paperwork is needed for titles to property (whether owned jointly or independently), titles to vehicles, or real estate. This will help you prove what you own so that you can keep as many of your assets as possible.

Take inventory of what you own that is valuable and consider what you really want to keep in the divorce. Tax information and birth certificates should also be on hand, as they will be necessary once the divorce is filed. In addition, collect bank statements and statements that outline the debt you have (both jointly and independently). Only by doing this can you get a clear picture of what debt you owe and what assets you can keep.

Getting Organized

At this point, you need to get organized. If you consult a financial planner in the early stages, you can prepare for legal fees, financial concerns, and how you will support yourself once you are single. Open your own bank account so that you can start severing financial ties to your spouse. If you have credit cards in both of your names, cancel them.  

You should also begin thinking about how to split up child custody if you have children with your spouse. If you think that your spouse will fight for sole custody of your children, prepare a strong case. Explain why it is in your children’s best interest for you to have at least partial custody.

Divorce with Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement outlines a plan for how to deal with divorce. It also puts into writing the expectations that one spouse has for the other during their marriage. For example, if both parties agree that they do not want to have children, they can add this to the prenuptial agreement. If this occurs, one spouse cannot argue in a divorce hearing that they want a divorce because their spouse does not want children. It is clear that in this case, both spouses agreed not to have children before they even got married.

In addition, you can write in a prenuptial agreement the punishments for doing things like cheating. In the event that one spouse cheats and this leads to divorce, you can outline in the prenuptial agreement the financial consequences that the cheating spouse will have in the divorce. You can write in your prenuptial agreement that if your spouse cheats on you, they are not entitled to your assets in a divorce.

Protecting Yourself

At its core, a prenuptial agreement protects your assets in the event of a divorce.  There are many other perks involved in having a prenuptial agreement. For example, in the event of a divorce, you can agree in a prenuptial agreement that inherited property will remain your own property. You can also limit your responsibility in dealing with your spouse’s debt in a divorce. Again, you can protect certain assets without having to fight in court about what is a marital asset or separate property.

If you file for divorce and you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement, it will make the divorce process much easier. This agreement will define who is entitled to what in the divorce.

Without a prenuptial agreement already in place, you will have to figure out property division, distribution of finances and assets, and much more during the divorce process. At this point, you probably won’t get what you think that you are entitled to, especially if you and your spouse end on bad terms. By sorting out how to divide marital assets before the marriage even begins, you will have a better chance of coming to a fair agreement without involving a judge.

How Long Does Divorce Take?

Divorce can be a lengthy and stressful process to go through. The time that the divorce process takes, from start to finish, will vary based on several factors. How long divorce will depends on if you are settling divorce outside of court or in court. This will be one of the major factors in how long the divorce will take.

Custody battles can also affect the divorce process. If you are filing for divorce and want an estimate of how long your case will take, ask your attorney. Divorce attorneys have a lot of experience with case. Also, they will be able to tell you roughly how long your case will take.

No matter how your divorce process differs from other cases, you will be subjected to a 90-day cooling off period. This happens unless you pursue an expedited divorce. Once a complaint is served by one spouse against the other, the divorce process will start. This complaint must be filed if you or your spouse wants to file for divorce. Once the complaint is filed on the return date, the court case will begin, starting the 90-day time period. The Connecticut state law requires this cooling off period in all divorce cases. At any time after the 90-day period a divorce can enter.

Estimates

A fairly accurate estimate of how long the divorce process will take is six months to a year. If you and your spouse are considerably amicable and find a way to settle your disagreements outside of court, this six month to a year estimate will probably be accurate. The more you and your spouse can agree on in the divorce, the smoother the process will go. However, if you go through a custody battle, the process can take a year or longer. Similarly, if you have a lengthy divorce case that is fought in the court, this process can take longer than a year.

Divorce is never easy, but some divorce cases are more stressful than others. If you are going through an uncontested divorce, the process can be fairly short and less stressful. However, in a divorce case that is contested, the process can take much longer and get messy.

It is important to discuss your particular case with your lawyer. Also talk to your spouse, if you and your spouse are on speaking terms. A divorce lawyer can help make the process go as smoothly as possible. So, especially in a contested divorce case, it is a good idea to invest in a good divorce lawyer. This can save you time and money in the long run.

Will the Court Intervene?

The easiest way to divide your assets and debt is by sitting down with your spouse and your lawyers and coming to a decision outside of court. This is because a court might impose a ruling that you or your spouse do not find satisfactory. If a judge orders for you to divide your assets in a certain way, you must do it. It is oftentimes easier to try to sort things out without involving a judge.

In some cases, this can make both parties happier. If you and your spouse are on good terms and you think that you are both willing to make sacrifices in order to have your debt and asset division settled outside of court, you should take advantage of this option.

However, if you and your spouse are not on good terms, and you think that one or both of you will fight over property and debt, a judge will have to intervene. A judge will divide your assets and debt for you. If you and your spouse do take your case to court, prepare to fight for your assets. In order to do this, you should present proof of your separate property. Also present as reasons why you deserve at least half if not more of your marital property.

Evidence in Court

For your separate property, you should present the judge with evidence of when you purchased that property. Also, show that you alone purchased it. If you were married in 2000 and you purchased a house in 1997, show the judge that the house is indeed separate property due to the date of purchase. You will then have to determine if your spouse has added any value to the equity in the property. You also have to determine the current value of the property.

These are just some of the basics to consider. If you feel that you deserve at least half or more of your marital property, but you believe that your spouse should take on more than half of your marital debt, you need to prove why this is the case to a judge. Showing a judge documents such as your bank statements, other proof of your financial situation, and your work history can help you if you believe that your spouse makes more money than you and is more financially stable.

Keep in mind that taking your case to court could result in a decision that you are unhappy with. For this reason, it is important to build a strong case to defend your reasoning. You need to prove to a judge why you deserve certain assets.

Common Mistakes Made During the Divorce Process

If you are facing a divorce, you are probably feeling stressed and frustrated. The divorce process can seem complicated. Chances are that you just want the divorce to be over as soon as possible. However, you should do some research before you rush through the divorce process. There are many common mistakes that people make when they want to get a divorce. Informing yourself of the divorce process and ways to avoid these mistakes will ultimately make the process much easier. Also, it will ensure that you get what you want out of the divorce. Read on for some tips on how to avoid divorce mistakes.

Emotional Decisions

The first mistake that you should avoid is rushing your divorce. If you try to hurry through the process, chances are you will make a lot of financial and legal mistakes. Determining the best course of action with your divorce lawyer before you sign any documentation can ensure that there will be no problems later on. It can also ensure that you get what you want in the divorce.

In addition to not rushing the divorce, you should try to avoid making big decisions when you are depressed or upset. You want to be thinking clearly when you make decisions concerning your finances and children. Try not to make decisions out of spite, anger, or sadness. If you feel overwhelmed, you can discuss your options with family, friends or a divorce lawyer.

Keep in mind that hiring a divorce lawyer can be extremely helpful. You ultimately have to make the right decisions for you during your divorce. But, a lawyer can advise you on the divorce proceedings and fight to help you get what you want. Divorce can be an emotional process. So, having a sympathetic yet levelheaded lawyer help with important matters will make the process easier.

Your friends and family can give you advice. But, they might not have the knowledge to assist you in your divorce. A lawyer is much more qualified to help you make the tough choices. This is the case even if they have been through their own divorces.

Getting What You Deserve

When facing a divorce, you should also fight for what is fair. You should avoid arguing over inconsequential aspects of the divorce. But, when it comes to alimony or child support, child custody, or division of property, you should make sure that you get what you are entitled to. Prioritize what you want most out of your divorce and fight for it.

The smaller things that don’t mean a lot to you can be conceded to your spouse. You can do this in order to keep the divorce as amicable as possible. In the sake of amicability, you should also consider using mediation instead of taking your divorce to court. This can save you time, money, and keep your privacy intact.

What to Do After Being Served with Divorce Papers

It’s a nice, sunny summer afternoon. You are sitting at home and your spouse is out running errands. The doorbell rings. Some stranger hands you a bunch of paperwork and it all comes crashing down. If you are served with paperwork for a divorce do not panic. Most people are aware that they may be served. But, it is still somewhat of a shock to receive this type of paperwork.   

Being handed divorce paperwork is stressful, but you can take certain steps to get yourself ready for the next few months – which don’t have to be torture.

First, you must take an inventory of your assets and liabilities immediately because your spouse may have been taking inventory well in advance of serving you with your divorce paperwork. Next, contact us – by online chat or a call, so we can sit down with you and talk about what the next steps are.

Seeing your name as “defendant” can be scary and disappointing, but it’s not a judgment on who you are as a person – it is just necessary because that is how the courts work.

Automatic Orders

One things that everyone facing or contemplating filing a divorce in Connecticut must understand is that the judge, after you file the divorce, will enter automatic orders in your case. Many lawyers charge you for the filing of the paperwork associated with this – but the forms they use are used in every case! All the lawyer needs to do is to change the name, and you wind up paying for the creation of these motions. Don’t hire a lawyer who charges for assistance with this paperwork.

In basic terms, the automatic orders keep you or your future ex spouse from taking on an debt or selling any assets of the family until the court determines how the divorce is paid out. This means that if you have a jointly owned house, you cannot list that house for sale – nor can you damage the house to drive down the value – while the divorce is pending. This is one reason why it pays to be prepared for a divorce and get your financials in order before you file.

What You Can’t Do

The automatic orders outline things that the plaintiff and defendant cannot do.

Neither the plaintiff or defendant shall:

  1. Sell, mortgage, or give away any property without written agreement or a court order.
  2. Go into unreasonable debt by borrowing money or using credit cards or cash advances.
  3. Permanently take your children from Connecticut without written agreement or a court order.
  4. Take each other or your children off of any existing medical, hospital, or dental insurance policy. Or, you can let any such insurance coverage expire.
  5. Change the terms or named beneficiaries of any existing insurance policy. Or, let any existing insurance coverage expire, including life, automobile, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
  6. Deny use of the family home to the other person without a court order. You should do this if you are living together on the date the court papers are served.

What You Can Do

Both the plaintiff and the defendant shall:

  1. Complete and exchange sworn financial affidavits within thirty days of the return date.
  2. Participate in a parenting education program within sixty days of the return date (if you share children under 18 years old).
  3. Attend a case management conference on the date specified on the reverse, unless you both agree on all issues and file a Case Management Agreement form with the court clerk on or before that date.
  4. Tell the other person in writing within forty-eight hours about your new address or a place where you can receive mail if you move out of the family home (if you share children under 18 years old).
  5. Help any children you share continue their usual contact with both parents in person, by telephone and in writing.

These orders are court orders and you can be found in contempt of court for not following them.

Financial Affidavits

If you are going through a divorce, you might feel overwhelmed with paperwork and stress. However, there is some important documentation that you must understand and be sure to properly fill out. One such important document is a financial affidavit. Whether you are a party that is asking for alimony or if you might have to pay child support, you should take the financial affidavit seriously and make sure that you understand it properly.

Finances in general are an important part of divorce, as they will determine who has to pay what to the other spouse. To this end, a financial affidavit will be required of you. You may be familiar with an affidavit, which is a written statement made under oath. A financial affidavit is similar in that it is a written statement made under oath, but it describes specific financial information, such as your income and your assets. If alimony is a potential part of your divorce, it is important that both parties are aware of each other’s financial situations.

Your current state of affairs will be determined by the court. The court will use your financial affidavit to plan out reasonable child support and alimony that you should receive or pay. To this end, it is extremely important to have an accurate understanding of your financial situation. This will result in the fairest distribution of alimony and child support.

Filling Out the Affidavit

If you are getting a divorce and you need to fill out a financial affidavit, the best thing that you can do is hire a divorce lawyer. As a divorce lawyer, I am aware of the financial affidavit process and I will be able to guide you as you fill out this affidavit. I know that filling out a financial affidavit can be confusing and frustrating. You know that you have to do it correctly, but you might not be sure of exactly what to do. This is where I come in. Once you disclose your finances to me, I can help you to fill out the paperwork. I can help you to fill out your affidavit accurately and truthfully.

Remember, this is a sworn written statement, so if it is found that you lied by hiding assets, you will be committing perjury, which is a crime. If you have trouble getting a clear understanding of all of your finances, I can help with this too. I can help you go through your financial papers and accounts in order to get the process started. By hiring a divorce attorney like me, you will have someone on your side when you are confused by the divorce process. A financial affidavit is something that should be taken seriously, so you want to make sure that you are filling it out correctly.

Your Expenses

If you take the time to fill out your financial affidavit properly, you will be more aware of what your expenses are on a monthly basis. Furthermore, if your case is not settled and goes to trial, you will be much more prepared to present a solid case if you fill out your financial affidavit. You are also entitled to receive and review your spouse’s financial affidavit. If there are issues with the financial affidavit or questions based on the representations, it is important to bring them to the attention of the judge.

There are no court approved guidelines for filling out a financial affidavit. As a result, it is a good idea to research appropriate ways to fill out such an affidavit. If you are really at a loss, you can contact a lawyer who should be able to help you fill out your affidavit properly. It is important to keep in mind that a judge may scrutinize your numbers. As a result, it is important to keep a copy of your notes and calculations. These can be presented to a judge if they are skeptical about your figures.

Preparing to Fill Out the Affidavit

It is always important to be prepared, so having these notes can be extremely helpful. When completing your financial affidavit, you might want to consider writing in pencil. This will make it easier to edit in the future. It also takes time to gather your bills, expenses, budgets, and other estimations. You should start on this immediately if you are planning on filling out a financial affidavit.

Make sure that your figures and estimations are honest. It will not be difficult for a judge to detect if you are lying on your financial affidavit. This can only hurt you in the long run. If you are not sure about the answer to a question or about a figure, it is best to note that you are making an estimated guess. Or, do not answer the question and explain why you feel you cannot.

Furthermore, if you eventually realize that you have made a mistake, correct it or explain it to the court as soon as possible. The sooner you clear up an error, the better chance you will have of having support approved by a judge. When filling out a financial affidavit, you might be a little intimidated. If this is the case, you can contact a divorce attorney or an accountant. They can help you get your affairs in order.

It is always a good idea to be as honest and upfront as possible. If you make a mistake or are unsure about something, seek professional help and explain your issue to a judge. If you correctly fill out your financial affidavit, a judge will quickly and easily be able to tell if you need child or spousal support. Fill out your financial affidavit as soon as possible in order to make this process go smoothly.

Temporary Orders on Support and Custody

A typical lawsuit or divorce can take a long time to complete. You and your spouse might spend years trying to decide how to split your assets, whether inside or outside of court. While a lengthy divorce process might be necessary for your particular case, there are some things that will not be able to wait. If you are getting a divorce and you need a quick decision from a judge concerning who gets the kids, the money in your bank accounts, the car, the house, etc. you won’t be able to wait years in order to settle these issues. In cases such as these, you might want to try to obtain a temporary order from a judge.

The Judge

When couples decide to separate, they will oftentimes go before a judge in a short hearing to resolve important issues temporarily. While these hearings are generally informal and brief, you still need to be prepared for them. You should think about what you are entitled to and you should be aware of what you will ask the judge for.

In most cases, you will only have a few minutes to discuss your desires with a judge. So, make sure that you can get to the point quickly and present a concise case. Remember, the purpose of temporary orders is to keep the family as close to status quo as possible. If you request temporary orders in a divorce case, your request will be put on the fast track. Then a hearing will be scheduled quickly. Usually, a hearing will be scheduled within two weeks.

Spouses can ask a court for temporary orders concerning many things. Temporary orders are generally valid until another hearing is held by the court. Or, they are valid until both spouses come to a more permanent agreement on their own. Once an agreement is set, it is hard to change a temporary order.

Automatic Orders

Automatic orders are orders that take effect as soon as either party is served with the divorce complaint. The orders are for both parties to follow. The automatic orders are set by the state. They are a way for the courts to control the parties actions during the divorce process. The goal is to keep the home as stable and status quo as possible. The courts want to make sure neither party attempts to take on any large debt, make any large purchases or sales, to change the current financial situation of the parties. For example, any assets of the parties cannot be sold unless the court or the parties mutually agree to it.

Likewise neither party can purchase a new vehicle, home, or other large expenses that is contrary to your daily customs and living pattern. Neither party can stop health or life insurance of the other or of the minor children. Also, the minor children cannot be removed from the state of Connecticut without notice and approval by the other parent. It is important that you review the full list with your attorney. You should do this prior to filing for divorce or upon being served with divorce papers.

Connecticut Pre Divorce Alimony and Child Support

Many women find themselves in a tough situation before filing for divorce. They rely on their husband for income and help with the children, and they cannot file for divorce because they think they can’t afford to support themselves while the divorce is pending. This is where an order of alimony and child support pendite lite can be filed. Pendite Lite is Latin for “pending litigation.”

An order for alimony and child support pendente lite means that your spouse will be ordered by the court to pay you the statutory child support amount (Connecticut Divorce Child Support Guidelines) during the pendency of the divorce before it is final. The order can also grant you pre divorce alimony so you can afford to live on your own as well.

Finally, you can have the court enter an order giving you possession of the marital home while the case is pending. This way you have the money you need and a place to live while the divorce is pending. We can file these motions when we file the divorce action for you. This can mean that you are safe and secure and can afford to live while your divorce is pending. You are not trapped by your husband’s wallet!   

Pendite Lite Motions

After the return date, your attorney can advocate for your best interests by filing requests with the court. These requests may be resolved by agreement or may require a hearing in front of the judge. Such requests can be for alimony, bill payments, child custody, visitation, or other matters that should be addressed right away. Such orders last for the period of the divorce proceedings until final judgment.  

There are a number of  “standard” pendite lite motions which every divorce attorney files. Many attorneys will customize these motions to fit your case. If you have been served with a divorce, you may also have been served with these motions. When you come for your free initial appointment, we will go over those motions with you and explain them all.

Case Management Date

A Case Management Date, is not a date upon which the parties must appear in court unless they are disputing custody of their children. Instead, it is a date by which they must file a Case Management Agreement with the court. This is a form notifying the court about the status of the case and scheduling plans. It is usually set by the clerk at 90 days after the return date. It is often also the earliest date by which spouses can proceed with an uncontested final hearing and obtain their divorce. Frequently, mediated and collaborative divorces are settled and ready for an uncontested final hearing by the Case Management Date.

Connecticut Return Date

The date on which the 90-day waiting period for a divorce begins. Also, the date that starts the countdown for things taking place in a case, including the deadlines for filing certain papers, including the date by which the defendant should file an appearance. Nothing happens in court on the return date and no one needs to go to court on the return date. The return date is always a Tuesday in civil and family cases. The return date is the date by which the summons and complaint must be turned in to the clerk’s office by the plaintiff  to show that it was properly served.  If you are a defendant, you should file an appearance by the return date. But, there is no hearing scheduled for that date and you must not physically appear in court.

By | 2017-05-09T15:28:42+00:00 December 15th, 2016|Divorce|Comments Off on The Divorce Process

The Divorce Process

by Stephen Lebedevitch time to read: 22 min
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