Family law matters can be complex and hotly contested. Often, a divorce involves issues such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. Spouses may agree on some of these areas while disagreeing on others. The outcome of these matters can affect key areas of your life far into the future. Thus, even if your divorce is largely amicable, you should retain an experienced attorney to protect your interests. Stamford family law lawyer Allan F. Friedman can develop a strategy for you and fight for your legal rights.
Below is a summary of some of the issues that frequently arise in this area. However, each person's circumstances are different, and you should seek personalized legal counsel if you are going through any type of family law dispute.Divorce
In most cases, you need to be a resident of Connecticut for at least 12 months before a court will grant a divorce. A court can enter a final divorce decree no sooner than 90 days after a petition is filed. You can obtain a no-fault divorce by stating that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. There are also certain fault grounds for divorce, such as adultery, willful desertion, intolerable cruelty, and imprisonment for certain crimes. Fault for the failure of the marriage sometimes may affect property distribution and alimony determinations.Alimony
In Connecticut, three types of alimony may be ordered. These are temporary, rehabilitative, and permanent alimony. Temporary alimony is often appropriate while a divorce is pending because a lower-earning spouse may have difficulty adjusting from a two-income household to a one-income household. If the lower-earning spouse is capable of self-support but needs time or help to become self-supporting, they may be eligible for rehabilitative alimony. Although permanent alimony is less common, a court may award it in situations in which one spouse is unable to become self-supporting for a certain reason, such as age or disability.Property Division
Courts in Connecticut follow the rule of equitable distribution, in which property division is supposed to be fair, even if it does not result in a 50-50 split. Our family law attorney assists residents of Stamford and other Connecticut communities in pursuing an appropriate division. Factors considered by a court when deciding how to divide property may include how long the marriage lasted, the income of each spouse, the earning potential of each spouse, and each spouse's contribution to raising any children. A Connecticut court is empowered to divide both marital property and separate property, which are assets acquired prior to the marriage or by gift or inheritance. In practice, however, judges usually award separate property to the spouse who acquired it, unless it would be inequitable to do so based on the circumstances.Child Custody
Child custody is divided into legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to a parent's right to make important decisions for a child. Physical custody refers to the care and residence of a child. Parents will need to set up a parenting plan to outline the custody and visitation schedule and allocate decision-making responsibilities regarding education, religion, and medical care. Parents may be able to negotiate their own agreement regarding child custody and a parenting plan. Any agreement must be approved by a court to take effect, and Stamford family law attorney Allan F. Friedman can help you craft an agreement that is likely to be approved. Otherwise, the court may issue an order based on its analysis of the child's best interests.Child Support
All parents in Connecticut are obliged to provide support to their children. A court generally calculates child support payments by referring to the Connecticut Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines. These guidelines require a court to look at the combined net income of both parents. The net income is gross income with deductions subtracted from it. Deductions may include court-ordered disability insurance premiums, income tax payments, health insurance premiums, and court-ordered alimony or child support paid for other dependents. In some unusual circumstances, a court may deviate from the child support guidelines.Modifications to Final Judgments
Sometimes an ex-spouse or a parent finds that their situation changes, and they need to ask a court to modify an existing arrangement. A person seeking a modification needs to meet a certain standard. For example, a motion to modify child custody may be approved if there is a material change in circumstances, and a modification would serve the best interests of the child. By contrast, motions to only modify visitation do not require a material change in circumstances. When modifying a visitation order, a court will be guided only by the child's best interests.Retain a Family Law Lawyer in the Stamford Area
Decisions made during a divorce are important. They may have consequences for the rest of your life and for the future of your children. You can obtain vigorous and compassionate legal representation from Allan F. Friedman. Call him at (203) 357-5555 or contact us via our online form to find out more about how he can help you.