Deciding whether you should get a divorce is never easy. In Connecticut, it is not required that you allege or prove fault to get a divorce—this is known as a “no-fault” divorce. This does not mean that neither party is at fault, it just means that you do not need to prove fault. It also does not mean that fault does not factor into divorce proceedings in other ways – more on that later.
For purposes of this discussion, if you are alleging that the divorce is due to the misconduct of your spouse, and you want to bring a divorce action on that premise, Connecticut family law requires the petitioner to prove fault. If the marriage is ending because one spouse it at fault, it could entitle the other spouse to a larger share of assets. However, in the state, a fault-divorce is allowed only if one or more statutory factors are alleged and proven. These include:
- Lying by one spouse to get the other to marry (hiding past record of serious crimes, for example).
- Willful desertion by one spouse for at least a year.
- Intolerable cruelty (including verbal, physical or emotional abuse).
- Confinement in a mental asylum for five of the last six years.
- Conviction and imprisonment for certain serious crimes, including crimes leading to imprisonment for life, and sex crimes like rape or incest which is punishable by imprisonment for more than a year.
- Habitual intemperance (addiction to drugs, alcohol, etc. which interferes with family responsibilities).
This list is by no means comprehensive, and there are several requirements and conditions of each which must be met. If you are seeking a fault-divorce in Connecticut or if you would like to know more about how fault factors in to a divorce, you should contact a divorce and family lawyer who can explain your rights to you, and work with you to put together a plan of action. Finding the right lawyer for you is a crucial step in the divorce process.