Property division in a fault divorce

Connecticut is a state that offers both fault and no-fault divorces. In a no-fault divorce, neither party bases its grounds for the divorce on the other party’s wrongdoing. The couple agrees that the marriage has broken down and they petition for divorce so they can move on. But in a fault divorce, one party alleges in the Complaint that the other party’s behavior caused damage to the marriage. Even in a no fault divorce, the Court will hear evidence as to the cause of the breakdown of the marriage. In both situations, a person’s share of the marital property can be affected by fault or behavior. There are seven reasons that qualify for a fault divorce. Adultery, fraud, cruelty (physical, emotional and verbal abuse), and alcohol abuse are some of the most common reasons. Others include desertion and neglect for more than one year by either spouse, imprisonment of more than one year, and hospitalization in a mental institution for five of the six years prior to the divorce.

Connecticut is an equitable distribution state, meaning that assets are divided not by formula, but based on several statutory factors, though not necessarily equally. Marital conduct can affect the distribution of assets in favor of the spouse who can prove one of the reasons listed above or can prove that the other spouse was more at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. The extent to which fault and/or behavior leading to the cause of the breakdown of the marriage might affect the equitable distribution of the marital estate, is complicated and may involve many other variables. It is important to be represented by an attorney who is experienced in this realm.

Our attorneys at BRODER & ORLAND LLC have vast experience in handling cases involving fault and no fault divorces and the effects of a spouse’s behavior on trial outcome and/or settlement.