Factors in Connecticut Divorce Part 2
Last week, I discussed some factors in divorce. Today, I will discuss separation, adultery, and fraudulent contract, which can all be factors in divorce.
One thing that could lead to the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage is separation for a considerable period of time. If you recall, a divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage can occur if, “the parties have lived apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous period prior to the service of the complaint and that there is no reasonable prospect that they will be reconciled…” Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-40(c)(2008). If you and your spouse have been separated, you might want to start thinking about filing for divorce. This will allow you to file for a no-fault divorce, as you will fulfill the requirements for a divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, or, if you want to file on some other grounds, you may do so. The fact that you and your spouse have been separated for a significant period of time will show the court that you have tried to work out your problems before rushing into divorce, but that nothing can be done to save your relationship. There is a common misconception that parties have to be separated prior to filing for divorce. This is not true.
There are specific steps to filing for divorce if you and you spouse have been separated and do not have contact with each other. You can still file for divorce if you can’t get in contact with your spouse. An attorney can assist you in the proper steps to filing and having it accepted by the court. If you do not know where your spouse resides, you should inform your attorney of your spouse’s last known address, if she/he has ever been in the military, where she/he works, or other details that could narrow down the location where they reside currently. The court needs proof that you attempted to reach out to your spouse to notify them of the pending dissolution. Your attorney can assist with meeting the court requirements for service in such a case.
One common reason why couples get divorced is because one or both parties were unfaithful over the course of their marriage. A person can file a no-fault divorce even when there has been adultery. The cause of the breakdown of the marriage is an element when considering the division of property/ alimony, etc. This would be considered during the negotiation and settling of the case. The habits of a cheating spouse will also be brought out at time of final trial. If you think that your spouse has committed adultery, you will have to prove his or her infidelity in court if you would like to use it as a factor in your divorce.
Adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse with someone other than a person’s spouse. However, it is important to keep in mind that some states recognize other acts as forms of adultery. For example, sexual acts that do not end in sexual intercourse can be considered adultery. If you think that your spouse has committed adultery, even if you are not sure if he or she actually had sexual intercourse with someone else, you should consult a divorce attorney to determine if you have a case.
You can receive compensation in the form of alimony or by being able to keep some of your assets in the divorce. The choices of your spouse can also affect their ability to care for your minor children. Another thing to consider is if the new significant other should be around your minor children or not.
Remember that accusations will not hold up in court without evidence. Accusations must be creditable. Eyewitness accounts, videos, photos, confession, or other direct proof are the best ways to prove that your spouse committed adultery. If you do not have direct proof, you can build a case on indirect proof or circumstantial evidence. Indirect proof can include love letters, travel records, hotel receipts, etc. If you can prove that your spouse had the means and the desire to commit adultery through indirect proof, it might be enough to convince a judge that adultery did indeed take place.
A fraudulent contract can lead to either divorce or an annulment in Connecticut. This is because fraudulent contract implies that the marriage was based on lies or deceit, in which case an annulment might be filed for. If you want to file for an annulment, you should contact a Connecticut family lawyer. “There must be a deception in respect to some fact whose existence or nonexistence may affect in some certain way the very essence of the marriage relation, resulting in a lawful marriage which practically operates as a fraud upon the deceived spouse; and the existence or nonexistence of the fact thus concealed or misrepresented must operate, as between parties to the marriage, to prevent some essential purpose of marriage and work a practical destruction of that relation.” Gould v. Gould, 78 Conn. 242, 261 (1905). “In Connecticut, by statute . . . fraudulent contract is a ground for divorce. This ground probably embraces some situations which, at least in jurisdictions not having such a ground of divorce, could also support an action for annulment.” Perlstein v. Perlstein, 152 Conn. 152, 161, 204 A.2d 909 (1964). “All the grounds of divorce specified, except fraudulent contract, are of such a nature that they can come into existence only after the marriage. While fraudulent conduct of a certain kind will render a marriage voidable, such fraud differs from that which vitiates ordinary contracts in that the party defrauded may not at his own election avoid the marriage, but it is held to be voidable only by a decree of the court.” Davis v. Davis, 119 Conn. 194, 196, 175 A. 574 (1934). If this applies to you, you may qualify for an annulment and may want to pursue an annulment. Remember to receive an annulment you must be able to prove to the Court there was some type of fraud, mistake, or misconception.
For more information on divorce, you can purchase my full ebook, Lady Divorce’s Guide to Connecticut Divorce, on Amazon.com.