Month: March 2017

HOW LIFE INSURANCE IS TREATED IN DIVORCE CASES IN CONNECTICUT

Life insurance coverage is an important topic that must be addressed in the majority of divorce cases in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Experienced divorce practitioners are aware that life insurance coverage can present issues during and after a divorce case and are vigilant about ensuring that their clients are protected with respect to these issues.

During the Divorce

Many divorce clients in Fairfield County, such as Greenwich or Darien, have life insurance policies, or their spouses do. At the inception of the divorce case, it is important for both sides to ensure that whatever life insurance policies exist at the time of the filing are maintained throughout the divorce case. Life insurance policies owned by a party should be disclosed on his or her Financial Affidavit, but it is common practice for divorce attorneys in Fairfield County, Connecticut to request copies of all life insurance policies as part of their discovery requests. By reviewing the policies, the client and the attorney can discover what the terms of the policies are and what the coverage is, which is important to know for settlement negotiations and trial preparation. For example, if a party owns a term policy, one needs to know when the policy ends and if the premiums increase after a certain date.

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WHY PARTIES NEED REVIEW COUNSEL DURING MEDIATION

Mediation is a process whereby parties who are looking to resolve their divorce or post judgment issues meet with a neutral third party (the Mediator) in an effort to settle the case. The parties’ agreement is then memorialized by the Mediator.

In Mediation, the parties (not a Judge and not the Mediator) determine how the case settles. While the Mediator may provide neutral guidance to both parties, the Mediator does not take sides and does not advocate for either party. In fact, in Connecticut, Mediators are not even necessarily attorneys! Since most parties to a divorce action are not attorneys themselves, how are they to navigate the complexities of a divorce, including making major financial and parenting decisions, without someone on their side? This is why it is critical for parties to hire their own Review Counsel to assist them during mediation.

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IMPORTANT DATES & TERMS IN CT DIVORCE CASES

A Connecticut divorce attorney is often asked “What are the most important dates in a divorce case? Is it the date I file for divorce, the return date, the case management date, the uncontested date– what does it all mean?” This article is a general guide to understanding what some of the more important dates that someone getting divorced in Connecticut should know. Whether you are getting divorced and live in Darien, New Canaan, Westport, Greenwich, Stamford, Fairfield or Hartford, these dates all have the same meaning.

Date of filing the action: This is not the date the papers are served upon your spouse but rather the date that they are filed with the court along with proof that service by a Marshal has occurred.

Return date: The return date is actually the date that the court considers to be the start of the divorce action. It is typically approximately two (2) weeks after the date of filing and it is from this date that the 90-day waiting period or case management date is established. Nothing will occur in court on the actual return date and it is not necessary for anyone to appear that day.

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HOW DO I FIND A DIVORCE LAWYER THAT IS RIGHT FOR ME?

If you are contemplating divorce or have been served with divorce papers, this is one of the first questions to cross your mind. Unless you’ve been divorced before, it’s unlikely you have had any real experience with a lawyer who concentrates in that area of the law. So where to get started?

Most likely, given the divorce rate in Westport, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan and surrounding Fairfield County towns, you have friends and family who have been down this road before. Their stories range from text book to nightmare and their assessments of the lawyers involved runs a similar gamut.

Take a deep breath. There are some wonderful lawyers who practice Family Law, of which divorce is a part. They are dedicated to their clients and behave in a skillful and ethical manner. They exhibit a healthy balance of objectivity and compassion. This is the type of lawyer you should seek out.

If you’re willing to share some confidences, the most natural place to start is by asking a couple of trusted friends or colleagues who have successfully navigated the process in the past. It is important to bear in mind that each case is different and the results can vary widely. So don’t get married to a set of facts or outcomes, but rather try to get a feel for what attorney might be the best match for you.

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POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS IN CT PART I: IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

Many clients come into our office from the towns of Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Rowayton, Stamford, and Westport, wondering whether they should enter into a Postnuptial Agreement. In general terms, a Postnuptial Agreement is a contract between a husband and wife entered into after their wedding ceremony, anywhere from weeks to years later. Postnuptial Agreements are often created in the interest of preserving the marriage, and encouraging the private resolution of family issues. Historically, the state of Connecticut disfavored divorces, and found postnuptial agreements akin to divorce and contrary to public policy. In 2011, the state’s position shifted and in Bedrick v. Bedrick, the Connecticut Supreme Court upheld the enforceability of Postnuptial Agreements finding them consistent with public policy. As part of the Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision, the Court acknowledged that Postnuptial Agreements help privately resolve marital conflicts, protect third party interests, and address the parties’ financial concerns.

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