Norwalk Family Law Firm

Legal Separation

In Connecticut, a couple has the option of obtaining a legal separation prior to getting a divorce. This is formalized through a legally binding order or agreement, where issues of property divisionalimonychild custody, and child support are all determined. Everything is the same, except that the parties remain legally married. It creates an unusual situation where a person is nether truly married nor truly divorced. In order to obtain a legal separation, a party must allege the following:

  • The marriage is irretrievably broken;
  • One spouse has committed adultery;
  • The parties have been living apart for 18 months;
  • There was fraud involved in the decision to get married;
  • One spouse has abandoned the other for seven or more years;
  • There has been willful desertion of a spouse for one year;
  • The marriage was intolerably cruel;
  • One spouse imprisoned the other; or
  • One spouse was confined for mental illness.

A separation requires the same procedures, including a legal filing, as a divorce. It takes approximately as long to obtain the separation order as it would a decree of dissolution of marriage, therefore, a couple considering this must have strong reasons for doing so. Many times, a couple will decide to obtain a legal separation in order to maintain healthcare coverage, although it is crucial to understand the policy limits before choosing this option. Another reason for a legal separation may be to avoid negative repercussions with religious institutions. Other times, there is a condition that makes marriage untenable at the time of the separation, such as addiction, but the couple still wishes for the marriage to work out over the long-term.

Once a couple has decided to end the legal separation and reconcile, it is necessary to file a declaration with the court, asserting that the couple has resumed marital relations. If the couple decides that dissolution of the marriage is the right option, then they need to file a motion with the court to convert the separation into a dissolution. The court may require new financial arrangements if a judge determines that there has been a change in circumstances that renders the previous order inequitable.

For Sophisticated Legal Representation, Contact Sheila Cascio

At The Law Offices of Sheila S. Cascio, Attorney Cascio understands the many nuances that impact the decision to end a marriage. With a background in psychology, she works with her clients in an empathetic manner to find the solution that works best for them. To schedule a consultation, contact her today at (203) 939-9411 for the Norwalk office or (203) 885-0042 for New Fairfield (by appointment only).

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