Connecticut Divorce

Residency Requirements

In order to get divorced in Connecticut, one of the parties to the marriage must have been a resident of the state for 12 months preceding the date of the filing.

Residency is also established if one of the parties lived in Connecticut at the time of the marriage and returned to the state with the intention of permanently remaining before the filing of the complaint or the cause for the dissolution of the marriage arose after either party moved into this state.


Grounds for Divorce

Connecticut grants divorces upon a finding of:
a) The marriage has broken down irretrievably;
b) the parties have lived apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous period of at least the eighteen months immediately prior to the service of the complaint and that there is no reasonable prospect that they will be reconciled;
c) adultery;
d) fraudulent contract;
e) wilful desertion for one year with total neglect of duty;
f) seven years’ absence, during all of which period the absent party has not been heard from;
g) habitual intemperance;
h) intolerable cruelty;
i) sentence to imprisonment for life or the commission of any infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty and punishable by imprisonment for a period in excess of one year; and
j) legal confinement in a hospital or hospitals or other similar institution or institutions, because of mental illness, for at least an accumulated period totaling five years within the period of six years next preceding the date of the complaint.


Division of Property

A court in Connecticut may assign to either the husband or wife all or any part of the estate of the other. The court may pass titles to real property to either party or a third person or order the sale of the property, if the judge deems it necessary.

When valuing the property and deciding which party is entitled to which piece of property, the court shall consider:
a) length of the marriage;
b) causes for the divorce;
c) age;
d) health;
e) station;
f) occupation;
g) amount and sources of income;
h) vocational skills;
i) employability;
j) estate;
k) liabilities; and
l) needs of each of the parties and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income.

The court shall also consider the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates.


Spousal Support

The statutory factors in determining alimony are:
a) length of the marriage;
b) causes for the divorce;
c) age;
d) health;
e) station;
f) occupation;
g) amount and sources of income;
h) vocational skills;
i) employability;
j) estate;
k) needs of each of the parties;
and l) in the case of a parent to whom the custody of minor children has been awarded, the desirability of such parent’s employment.


Child Custody

In making or modifying any order with respect to custody or visitation, the court shall be guided by (1) the best interests of the child, giving consideration to the wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capable of forming an intelligent preference, provided in making the initial order the court may take into consideration the causes for dissolution of the marriage or legal separation if such causes are relevant in a determination of the best interests of the child, and (2) consider whether the party satisfactorily completed participation in a parenting education program.

Joint custody means an order awarding legal custody of the minor child to both parents, providing for joint decision-making by the parents and providing that physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way as to assure the child of continuing contact with both parents. The court may award joint legal custody without awarding joint physical custody where the parents have agreed to merely joint legal custody. There is a presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of a minor child where the parents have agreed to such an arrangement.


Child Support

The purpose of a child support order in Connecticut is to provide for the care and wellbeing of minor children and not to equalize the available income of divorced parents.

In determining whether a child is in need of support and if the parents are able to provide support, the court shall consider the age, health, station, occupation, earning capacity, amount and sources of income, estate, vocational skills and employability of each of the parents, and the age, health, station, occupation, educational status and expectation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of the child.


Sources (Connecticut General Statutes)


Connecticut Resources


Laws & Courts:

Connecticut Law – title 46B, Chapter 815 and 816.
Judicial Branch Homepage – includes a searchable opinion database and a Civil/Family Court “case look-up” page.

Additional Resources:

Connecticut State Bar Association – news and information from the CBA.
Court Forms – downloadable legal forms (in PDF format) from the Connecticut Judicial Branch.
Children’s Rights Council – an office of the national nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC The organization works to assure children meaningful and continuing contact with both their parents and extended family regardless of the parents’ marital status. For Connecticut chapters, contact Mark Roseman at 860-437-8010.

Public Access to Court Records
Case Look-Up provides information about civil, family, criminal, motor vehicle, housing, and small claims cases. (Source: National Center for State Courts)

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The State Resource pages are provided for informational purposes only. Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within the State Resource pages without first consulting an attorney licensed in your state. We at strive to keep our information up-to-date; however state laws are not static and subject to change without notice.