No-Fault Divorce in Connecticut

If your marriage has "irretrievably" broken down, you can get a no-fault divorce in Connecticut.

Is Connecticut a no-fault state?

Yes, Connecticut has no-fault divorce. Connecticut also has fault-based divorce.

What is a no-fault divorce in Connecticut?

A couple can get a no-fault divorce in Connecticut when their marriage has broken down “irretrievably.” This means that there is no realistic chance that the couple will get back together. No-fault divorce is also available when the couple has lived apart for at least 18 continuous months because they are no longer compatible and there is no realistic chance of reconciliation.

No-fault divorce is the most common kind of divorce in Connecticut. In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse has to prove that the other spouse caused the marriage to end. No-fault divorce also allows the couple to avoid calling friends or relatives to testify in court about the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage. However, the judge may still consider the causes for the breakdown of the marriage when determining spousal support and property distribution.

What is a fault divorce?

Fault divorce is a divorce based on a spouse's misconduct, for example, adultery, abuse, or drunkenness.

What are the fault grounds in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, a fault divorce must be based on one of the following “grounds,” or reasons:

  • adultery
  • fraud by one spouse to get the other spouse to marry (lying about a serious criminal record, for example)
  • willful desertion (abandonment) by one spouse for at least one year
  • habitual intemperance (alcohol abuse that interferes with family responsibilities)
  • intolerable cruelty, which includes things like physical, verbal, or emotional abuse that negatively affects the abused spouse’s health
  • imprisonment for certain crimes, including any crime leading to a life imprisonment, or a sex crime like rape or incest that is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year, or
  • confinement in a mental hospital for five of the last six years.

How do I file for a divorce in Connecticut?

The processes for filing a no-fault divorce and fault divorce are the same in Connecticut. The spouse seeking the divorce (the “plaintiff”) files a document called a “Complaint” in the superior court for the judicial district where one of the spouses lives. The plaintiff must state in the complaint the reason for the divorce and information about any children from the marriage. In addition to asking for a divorce, the plaintiff can ask the court to grant custody of children, award child support or alimony, divide marital property and debts, and restore a prior name.

After filing the complaint, the plaintiff has to “serve” the other spouse, the “defendant,” with the complaint; this just means that the plaintiff must make sure the other spouse receives a copy of the paperwork by an approved method. In Connecticut, the plaintiff usually has the state marshal serve the complaint on the other spouse along with the “Summons,” which tells the defendant about the divorce proceeding and when to come to court, and the “Notice of Automatic Court Orders,” which informs the defendant about the automatic court orders (see below).

What are Automatic Court Orders?

In Connecticut, automatic orders are orders that go into effect automatically at the beginning of a divorce case. They prevent both spouses from doing something that would affect the couple’s property or children without the other spouse’s consent, like selling the couple’s home or moving out of state with the children. The judge can change these orders if it is necessary and appropriate.


For the text of the statute governing divorce, see Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46b-40(c).

See the  Connecticut Courts Website  for useful information about divorce in Connecticut, including a  Do It Yourself Divorce Guide.


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