Sarah has practiced exclusively in the area of family and matrimonial law since 2008. She has achieved success in both litigating and settling cases, including those involving divorce, custody, alimony, undisclosed assets, business valuation issues, and attribution of income. Sarah also represents clients in appellate matters and in the negotiation and drafting of complex Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements. She has been recognized by the Connecticut Law Tribune as a 2015 New Leader in the Law and has also been selected a New England Super Lawyers ® Rising Star® 2011-2016 in the area of Family Law.
Since 2011, Sarah E. Murray has served as a member of the Board of Editors as Technical Editor and has now been elected as Editor-in-Chief of the Connecticut Bar Journal.
At Broder & Orland, LLC, we often consult with divorce clients from Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, and Westport who entered into Prenuptial Agreements prior to getting married. Naturally, their first question when they arrive in our office is whether or not their Prenuptial Agreement is enforceable. They want to know how likely it is that a Court would uphold the terms of their Prenuptial Agreement if their case were to go to trial.
In some divorce cases, the parties agree at the time of the divorce to abide by the terms of the Prenuptial Agreement. In those relatively simple cases, the divorce judgment will incorporate the provisions of the Prenuptial Agreement and the parties can agree upon any issues not set forth in their Prenuptial Agreement.
Under Connecticut rules of practice, any party seeking the enforcement of a Prenuptial Agreement needs to let the other party know in his or her initial paperwork filed with the Court. For the Plaintiff seeking the enforcement of a Prenuptial Agreement, he or she pleads the Prenuptial Agreement in the divorce complaint. A Defendant seeking enforcement of a Prenuptial Agreement can file an Answer and Cross-Complaint seeking its enforcement. If a party does not wish to have the Prenuptial Agreement enforced, that party has sixty days from the date that the other party claims enforcement of the Prenuptial Agreement to file a reply requesting that the Prenuptial Agreement not be enforced. That party’s reply must state the grounds under which the party is seeking to have the Prenuptial Agreement invalidated. The purpose of these rules is to give each party ample notice early in the case as to the claims of the other with respect to the enforceability of the Prenuptial Agreement.
Topics include: the letter of automatic orders and how to litigate arguable violations, such as: changing wills, cutting off credit cards, paying liabilities, and changing the form of assets.
“Do I have to go to Trial?” It is a question that family law attorneys who practice in Westport, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan and Stamford are often asked by their clients. The answer is, “No”! When the parties to a divorce action are able to reach a settlement of all custody and financial issues, a formal Separation Agreement is drafted. The case is then scheduled for an Uncontested Divorce Hearing.
An Uncontested Divorce Hearing takes place at the Courthouse in the same type of courtroom in which a Trial would occur. The courtroom is open to the public, which means that depending on how busy the day is, there will likely be other people (litigants, attorneys) sitting in the Courtroom as they wait for their own matter to be heard. At the beginning of the Uncontested Divorce Hearing, the Plaintiff’s attorney will ask the Plaintiff to provide the parties’ background information to the Judge, such as the date of marriage, location of marriage, maiden name, length of residency in Connecticut, and the names and ages of any children of the marriage. These questions are asked in order to make sure that the Judge has appropriate jurisdiction to grant a divorce.
Next, the Judge will review the Separation Agreement. This is typically done by having the Plaintiff’s attorney review the salient points of the Agreement with the Plaintiff. The Agreement is reviewed before the Judge for a few reasons:
Where do I file for divorce?
The Connecticut Statutes have specific provisions that govern which courthouse you are to file for divorce. It is dependent upon where either the Plaintiff or the Defendant resides. Specifically, in Fairfield County:
a.) If either party resides in the town of Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport, or Wilton, the divorce action can be filed in the Stamford courthouse.
b.) If either party resides in towns such as Fairfield, Easton, Trumbull, Shelton, Bridgeport, or Monroe, the divorce action shall be filed in the Bridgeport courthouse.
If the parties have already separated and, for example, the Husband lives in Greenwich and the Wife lives in Fairfield, wherever the action is first filed is the courthouse that will handle the case.
For most people, deciding to get divorced is not a snap decision. It often comes after many years of pain and turmoil in a marriage. Therefore, there should be sufficient time to prepare for divorce as it is critical to ensuring that the process goes as efficiently as possible.
Experienced divorce attorneys in Westport, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan and Stamford, often are asked by a potential client in an initial meeting, “What should I be doing before filing for divorce to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible?” The answer is multifaceted and often depends on the particular facts of the case but below are certain general steps that each divorce litigant should address prior to an action commencing: