How long to get a Connecticut divorce? In Connecticut, there is a 90-day waiting period to obtain a divorce.
There are two primary reasons for the waiting period:
1. Public policy. From a public policy standpoint, the state does not want to make it too easy to get a divorce. At least, not without enough time to reflect on things to make sure you really want a divorce. This is why the waiting period is sometimes called the “cooling off” period. Running to the courthouse on Monday to obtain a “quickie” divorce because you had a weekend tiff is not possible. And yes, spouses do reconcile during the waiting period.
2. Organization. The waiting period allows for the gathering of all the important documents (i.e. bank statements, tax returns, appraisals) so that a case can be properly assessed from a financial and support perspective. If children are involved, it also gives the parents time to explore housing, schools and to work out a custody and visitation arrangement (Parenting Plan). Divorce is a difficult experience – especially for kids. The 90 days should be used to plan for a thoughtful transition from one home to two homes.
If negotiations were successful during the waiting period then an uncontested divorce can be granted shortly thereafter. Otherwise, the case heads down the path to trial. In Bridgeport Court, trials are scheduled about 9 months to a year from the Return Date. In Stamford, it may be longer.
Although a divorce cannot be granted until 90 days after the Return Date, the court has the authority to issue temporary orders (pendente lite) while the case is pending. The most common examples are motions for custody, visitation, child support, alimony and for exclusive possession of the marital residence.
There are new laws which took effect October 1, 2015 which can reduce the waiting period for a divorce in Connecticut.
Please contact me if you wish to discuss a Connecticut divorce.