There are many reasons why marriages break down over time. Spouses grow apart, financial concerns put far too much stress on the relationship, addictions cause strife or spouses may turn to cheating. When a marriage is not working and a spouse wants out, many choose divorce. While divorce is still the best choice for many, there are other options, including legal separation and, in some cases, annulment of the marriage.
Dissolution of marriage (divorce)
Divorce, known as dissolution of marriage under the law, may be no-fault or based on fault, as well as uncontested or contested. There are 10 grounds for divorce in Connecticut:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
- Spouses lived apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous period of at least 18 months and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation
- Fraudulent contract
- Willful desertion for at least a year
- Seven years’ abandonment
- Habitual intemperance
- Intolerable cruelty
- Life prison sentence or the commission of an infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty and punishable by more than one year of imprisonment
- Legal confinement in a hospital or similar institution because of mental illness for at least an accumulated period of five years within the six years before filing for divorce
A decree of legal separation works similarly to a divorce, except that it does not free the separated spouses to remarry. A legal separation can be converted into a divorce, continue indefinitely, or the spouses may choose to file a declaration of resumption of marriage.
An annulment renders a marriage either void or voidable from the outset when there are grounds:
- Marriage between spouses who are too closely related or “consanguinity”
- Defects in the marriage ceremony or license
- Fraud, force or duress
- Concealment or misrepresentation of facts or circumstances
One of the best resources for couples contemplating the end of marriage is a divorce lawyer who has the experience to help you analyze and choose the best options and to represent you in the legal proceedings.