• 209 Montowese Street, Branford, CT 06405
  • (203) 208-1659
  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do I have to tell the other side?

    You are required to disclose your finances on a Financial Affidavit and disclose various financial documents. These documents are sealed by the court to prevent disclosure to nonparties.

    Depending on the specifics of your case you may need to disclose other personal facts. A good lawyer is best able to protect you.

    How long does a divorce take?

    Under very limited circumstances it can take as little as thirty days, but normally three to six months.

    What is the process?

    For a divorce the complaint must be filed and served on the other party. Then there is a discovery process. If all goes smoothly and the parties can come to an agreement there only needs to be one actual court date where the parties ask the court to accept their agreement and make their divorce final. If the parties are having any difficulty coming to an agreement the court will schedule a status conference and order the parties to meet with Family Relations to attempt to reach an agreement; your attorney will represent you at Family Relations.

    If an agreement cannot be reached a trial will occur. This trial can encompass all aspects of the divorce or only areas where the parties cannot reach agreement. The court may not enforce all, or part, of an agreement already reached if it interferes with the “mosaic” of its final orders at the end of a trial. Family Court trials are not held in front of a jury; the judge is the final decider of the facts.

    If there is no custody agreement between the parties the court can order any one or combination of the following: Family Relations study (no cost to any party); appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem (likely additional cost to the parties. Also known as “GAL”); appointment of an Attorney for the Minor Child (likely additional cost to the parties. Also known as “AMC”).
    Post judgment motions (changes to the original divorce/custody order) and post judgment contempt motions are largely handled the same way.

    What is a Guardian Ad Litem?

    A Guardian Ad Litem acts as the independent eyes and ears of the court. They represent the “best interests of the child” and not any particular party. While a GAL is normally an attorney it does not have to be. A GAL will meet with the parties, the child, school officials, doctors, etc. and make a recommendation to the court on what they believe is in the best interests of the child regarding custody and parenting time.

    What is an Attorney for the Minor Child?

    An AMC is always an attorney and represents the child; s/he doesn’t necessarily represent the “best interests” of the child. An AMC is normally appointed when there is an older child involved in the process.

    What is the difference between a GAL and an AMC?

    A GAL represents the best interests of the child and an AMC represents the child. The technical difference is best explained as this: If a child tells the GAL he wants the court to order that his parents let her eat 20 pounds of candy a day the GAL can say no, that that is not in the child’s best interest. However, an AMC would technically be required to try and get the court to issue such an order. There is some blurring of an AMC’s role to slightly absorb some of the role of a GAL but essentially they are the child’s attorney.

    Additionally, a GAL cannot call any witnesses and is often called as a witness. An AMC is an attorney with all the powers of an attorney; s/he cannot be called as a witness.

    What about custody, visitation, and finances during the divorce proceedings?

    Automatic Orders, deal with certain financial matters, custody, and visitation. These orders go into effect on the party who starts the divorce proceeding when they, or their, attorney sign the divorce complaint; they go into effect on the other party when they are served. Certain actions taken in contemplation of divorce are considered a violation of the automatic orders even if they occur before the above mentioned time lines.

    Motions for temporary orders governing just about any matter can be filed during the course of the divorce and will either be agreed to or ruled on by the court. These temporary orders are called “pendente lite.”

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