Divorce Newsletters

Annulment and the “Relation Back” Doctrine

By its legal definition, the “relation back doctrine” enables a plaintiff to correct a pleading error, by adding either a new claim or a new party, after the expiration of the statutory limitation period. In some cases, spouses who are parties to subsequent marriages have attempted to assert the “relation back” doctrine to persuade courts to reinstate/reinforce alimony or maintenance payments from their previous marriage(s).

Defenses in Fault-based Divorce: Condonation and Reconciliation

States traditionally have considered condonation and reconciliation to be common law affirmative defenses to fault-based divorce actions. Under that scenario, the defendant was required to plead and prove the defense. In states that allow fault-based divorce and that have comprehensive divorce statutes, the general movement has been to limit or eliminate common law divorce defenses such as condonation and reconciliation.

Fault-based Divorce: Cruelty

There are two basic approaches to divorce: fault-based divorce and “no fault” divorce. Most states permit a “no fault” divorce on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Some states still require a fault-based divorce, some allow no-fault divorces, and a few states permit both. The fault grounds or reasons for divorce vary from state to state. Cruelty is a specific fault ground for divorce in most of the states that allow fault based divorces. Prior to the introduction of no-fault divorce grounds, cruelty was the most frequently used reason in seeking a divorce.

Imprisonment as Grounds for Annulment of Marriage

Annulment is very different from divorce, even though some grounds for annulment are similar to divorce. Some grounds available in divorce are not available in annulment. In most states, if a spouse is convicted for a serious crime and imprisoned consecutively for three years, imprisonment can be a ground for a divorce. While imprisonment is generally not a ground for annulment of marriage, in some states, if the defendant conceals his or her criminal record such as conviction and imprisonment from another spouse, this is considered fraud and can be grounds for annulment. Further, in some states, inmates imprisoned for life may not marry.

Spouses as Witnesses in Divorce Proceedings

In general, either spouse can testify in a ”no fault” divorce proceeding, in a fault-based divorce proceeding, in a property settlement hearing, or in proceedings relating to custody determinations. While such testimony can be highly relevant in a divorce proceeding, there are some rules (including the marital communications and anti-marital facts privileges) that come into play when considering the admissibility of such testimony.

Divorce Practice

West Hartford Divorce Attorney Providing Intelligent Legal Advocacy

Committed to serving Connecticut families

Flaherty Legal Group focuses solely on family law. The firm aims to protect the legal rights of individuals during divorce and post-judgment enforcement proceedings. With more than 50 years of combined experience in divorce mediation and litigation. Thousands of satisfied clients from West Hartford, Hartford, Avon, Simsbury, Farmington, Glastonbury and the rest of Connecticut chose us because the law firm’s domestic relations attorneys helped clients obtain the best possible outcomes in their divorces on such crucial issues as:

  • Child custody
  • Child visitation
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Allocation of assets
  • Division of the marital home

Getting the most equitable financial settlement

The first step in dividing the marital household is determining the financial and sentimental value of personal property, real estate and other assets. Next, the debts incurred during the marriage must be identified. Once this information is gathered, the legal team at Flaherty Legal Group helps clients devise a strategic plan of action for obtaining their fair percentage of marital property, keeping the assets that really matter to them and equitably distributing the debt.

The resourceful lawyers at Flaherty Legal Group have experience in creating spousal support orders that meet the personal needs of their clients, covering such areas as lump-sum disbursement, monthly payments, permanent maintenance or conditional support.

West Hartford divorce attorneys approach to divorcing parents

Children are a priority for most divorcing parents. The law firm fights for their clients’ child custody and visitation rights and for the fair allocation of child support under Connecticut guidelines. With their focus on putting children first in divorce, divorce attorneys from our West Hartford offices remain closely involved with the Children’s Law Center of Connecticut — attorney Pamela Magnano sits on the board of directors and attorney Sandi Girolamo is an integral part of the development committee.

Contact a dedicated West Hartford, Connecticut based family law firm

Flaherty Legal Group is located in West Hartford and represents clients throughout Connecticut in all family law matters.

Don’t hesitate to call our family law and divorce attorneys based in West Hartford, Connecticut, and see why thousands of satisfied clients from all over the state, including Avon, Simsbury, Farmington, Hartford and Glastonbury chose us.

Call Flaherty Legal Group at (860) 904-2034 or contact the law firm online to schedule an appointment.

Firm Partners


Sandi B. Girolamo

Sandi B. Girolamo has been practicing family law for over 20 years. In that time, she has been selected to Connecticut Super Lawyers in every year since she became eligible in 2011. She was also elected to the prestigious Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows Program. Attorney Girolamo has tried many cases in Connecticut Family Courts, and she has also averted the need to go to trial for many clients by negotiating equitable settlements. Sandi is an experienced divorce and family law attorney who is known for her keen approach to handling custody issues.


Pamela M. Magnano

Pamela M. Magnano practices in the area of family law, representing clients in divorces, legal separations, support issues and child custody matters in Connecticut. Since 2003, Attorney Magnano has represented clients and children at all levels of family proceedings and has appeared in family courts throughout the state of Connecticut. She has been selected to Connecticut Super Lawyers in every year since she became eligible in 2014, and was elected to the prestigious Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows Program. Pam has developed in her 20+ year career a solid foundation in handling financial issues in divorce and family law cases.