Family Law

Family Law in Connecticut

Divorce in Connecticut

Divorce Process

When a party file for a divorce, he or she os filing a legal action against the other party (the spouse) in order to dissolve the marriage and divide the familiar assets and liabilities equitably. That legal action is served upon the othr party (usually by a State Marshall).

90 day Pendent Lite

After the documents are served to the other party, they are returned to the Connecticut court, and the issue is then pending. In Connecticut there is a ninety day waiting period (“pendent lite” or “cooling off” period). It is not possible to get a divorce until that 90 days has passed. Of course, if there are complexities (like financial disagreements or children issues), the case can take much longer.

Equitable division property state

Connecticut is an equitable division property state. Unlike community property states, the court in Connecticut divides income and assets based upon criterion enumerated in the Connecticut family law statutes. Essentially, the court looks at the length of the marriage, the causes of the breakdown of the marriage, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each party as well as the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income.

The court also considers the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates. Many times this practically results in an equal division of assets and liabilities and a re-shuffling of income.


Types of legal custody

  • Legal Custody – This means that both parents have decision-making in relation with the children.
  • Sole custody (sometimes called full custody) essentially gives one party the above right (decision-making about the children).
  • Physical custody involves where the kids are at any time during the week, not who has the decision-making right during that period (legal custody). Shared custody – Parents can share access to the kids, the physical custody – is a type of Physical custody. This involves, in general, transitioning between the two homes

Child Support

Parents have the legal right to request the assistance of the State in establishing child support orders and enforcing payment. Any Connecticut resident, as provided under federal and state law, may avail themselves of the same child support services as are provided to public assistance recipients.

Family Support Magistrates and Title IV-D

The Family Support Magistrate Division of the Superior Court has jurisdiction over child and spousal support matters involving people receiving benefits under the Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) or medical public assistance programs or those receiving payments in the foster care program. Family Support Magistrates also preside over cases involving those who have applied to the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement. Issues involving any of these four categories are classified as IV-D cases because the procedures are governed by Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act.

The Attorney General’s Office, the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement within the Department of Social Services and Support Enforcement Services within the Judicial Branch all participate in Title IV-D proceedings concerning the establishment, enforcement and modification of child support orders when a party to the proceeding is receiving IV-D support enforcement services.

Support orders entered by a Family Support Magistrate have the same force and effect as support orders entered by a Judge of the Superior Court and involves the same process. Accordingly, Title IV-D services provided by the State through the Family Support Magistrate Division include, but are not limited to, the establishment of paternity and child support orders, the modification of existing support orders and initiating appropriate enforcement proceedings, such as the bringing of contempt motions, the placement of statutory liens on real and personal property, the interception of state and federal income tax refunds, the certification of the names of delinquent child support obligors to credit reporting agencies, the suspension of automobile operator and occupational licenses, the use of an automated absent parent locate system, and the necessary legal services incident to such proceedings.


Connecticut Practice Book:
Chapter 25 – Procedure in Family Matters

  • Sec. 25-1. Definitions Applicable to Proceeding in Family Matters
  • Sec. 25-2. Complaints for Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation, or Annulment
  • Sec. 25-5.Automatic Orders upon Service of Complaint or Application
  • Sec. 25-7.Pleadings in general; Amendments to Complaint or Application
  • Sec. 25-8. Amendment; New Grounds for Dissolution of Marriage
  • Sec. 25-9. Answer, cross complaint, claims for relief by defendant
  • Answer to cross complaint

Family Law Forms in Connecticut

Individual Family Forms:

JD-FM-1 Income Withholding for Support, Rev. 5/12
JD-FM-1(i) Instructions to Complete the Income Withholding for Support, Rev. 5/12
JD-FM-3 Summons, Family Actions, Rev. 9/12
JD-FM-6-LONG Financial Affidavit Long Version, New 1/14
JD-FM-6H-LONG Help Text For Financial Affidavit Long Version, New 1/14
JD-FM-6-SHORT Financial Affidavit Short Version, New 1/14
JD-FM-6H-SHORT Help Text For Financial Affidavit Short Version, New 1/14
JD-FM-68 Notice and Claim Form – Support Income Withholding, Rev. 11/12
JD-FM-70 Notice to Nonappearing Obligor of Income Withholding Order, Rev. 9/99
JD-FM-71 Advisement of Rights, Rev. 11/12
JD-FM-75 Application For Waiver of Fees/Appointment of Counsel Family, Rev. 10/13 (How-to Slidecast)
JD-FM-75H Help Text For Application For Waiver of Fees/Appointment of Counsel Family, Rev. 10/12
JD-FM-97 Family Violence Education Program, Application, Order, Disposition, Rev. 2/12
JD-FM-102 Individual Case Report, Family Violence, Victim Advocate, Rev. 9/13
JD-FM-111 Appeal From Family Support Magistrate, Rev. 4/11
JD-FM-124 Contempt Proceedings Upon Failure of Payer, Rev. 11/01
JD-FM-125 Order To Maintain Health Insurance For Minor Child(ren), Rev. 5/06
JD-FM-137 Application For Relief From Abuse, Rev. 10/13
JD-FM-138 Affidavit – Relief From Abuse, Rev. 11-12
JD-FM-149 Parenting Education Program, Rev. 11/12
JD-FM-150 Case Input Record, Non IV-D Income Withholding, Rev. 3/09
JD-FM-154 Affidavit of Noncompliance With License Suspension Order, Rev. 2/06
JD-FM-158 Notice of Automatic Court Orders, Rev. 7/13
JD-FM-159 Divorce Complaint (Dissolution of Marriage), Rev. 8/13
JD-FM-159A Dissolution of Civil Union Complaint, New 10/05
JD-FM-160 Dissolution Answer, Rev. 11/10
JD-FM-161 Custody/Visitation Application — Parent, Rev. 5/13
JD-FM-162 Order to Attend Hearing and Notice to Respondent, Rev. 4/13
JD-FM-163 Case Management Agreement/Order, Rev. 10/12
JD-FM-164 Affidavit Concerning Children, Rev. 6/09
JD-FM-164A Addendum to Affidavit Concerning Children, Rev. 12/09
JD-FM-165_2014 Case Management Dates 2014, New 10/13
JD-FM-165A_2013 Case Management Dates 2013, Rev. 10/12
JD-FM-165B_2013 Case Management Dates 2013, Rev. 10/12
JD-FM-165C_2013 Case Management Dates 2013, Rev. 10/12
JD-FM-167 Motion For Order of Notice In Family Cases, Rev. 2/11
JD-FM-168 Order of Notice in Family Cases, Rev. 12/10
JD-FM-169 Motion for Additional Orders of Notice in Family Cases, Rev. 4/08
JD-FM-172 Dissolution Agreement, Rev. 7/10
JD-FM-172A Instructions to Complete the Dissolution Agreement (Spanish/English), Rev. 7/10
JD-FM-173 Motion for Contempt/Contempt Citation, Rev. 10/12
JD-FM-173H Motion for Contempt/Contempt Citation Help File, New 10/12
JD-FM-174 Motion for Modification, Rev. 2/13
JD-FM-174H Motion for Modification Help Text, Rev. 2/13
JD-FM-175 Certification of Notice in Family Cases (Public Assistance), Rev. 9/11
JD-FM-176 Motion for Orders Before Judgment (Pendente Lite) in Family Cases, Rev. 6/12
JD-FM-177 Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) Judgment, Rev. 11/09
JD-FM-177A Dissolution of Civil Union Judgment, New 10/05
JD-FM-178 Affidavit Concerning Military Service, Rev. 11/11
JD-FM-181 Dissolution of Marriage Report, Rev. 11/09
JD-FM-181A Dissolution of Civil Union Report, Rev. 4/08
JD-FM-183 Custody/Visitation Agreement, Rev. 4/00
JD-FM-184 Custody/Visitation Judgment, Rev. 8/06
JD-FM-185 Motion For Intervention in Family Matters, Rev. 10/10
JD-FM-187 Answer, Paternity Petition, New 2/00
JD-FM-188 Request for Nondisclosure of Location Information, Rev. 10/01
JD-FM-199 Proposed Parental Responsibility Plan, Rev. 12/11
JD-FM-200 Motion to Approve Arbitration Agreement in Family Cases, Rev. 10-06
JD-FM-201 Application and Writ, Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum, Rev. 4-09
JD-FM-202 Request For Leave, Rev. 8/07
JD-FM-206 Motion to Open Judgment (Family Matters), Rev. 10/13
JD-FM-210 Notice of Automatic Orders — Petition for Child Support, Rev. 1/12
JD-FM-219 Guardian Ad Litem, Request for Status Conference, New 2/12
JD-FM-220 Worksheet for the Connecticut Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines (CCSG-1), New 3/12
JD-FM-221 Verified Petition for Visitation — Grandparents & Third Parties, Rev. 4/13
JD-FM-222 Application For Emergency Ex Parte Order of Custody, New 10/13

Further Reading

Connecticut Family Law Citations: A Reference Guide to Connecticut Family Law Decisions, by Cynthia C. George

Connecticut Practice, Family Law and Practice with Forms, by Arnold H. Rutkin
Friendly Divorce Guidebook for Connecticut, by Barbara Kahn Stark
Library of Connecticut Family Law Forms, by Thomas D. Colin, ed.

Family Law in Connecticut: General Overview

This entry offers readers with practical insight to the subject of family law in Connecticut, a general introduction to the legal issues relating to family law under Connecticut law and practice.

Leave a Comment