Page 57 - 2011 Guide to Family Violence Laws

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52
DIVORCE AND SEPARATION
If I get a restraining order, do I have
to get a divorce?
No. If you are requesting a restraining
order against your spouse, you can
begin a divorce at the same time, but
you don't have to do that. However, if
you want a divorce, it may save time
and legal expense if you file or ask your
attorney to file for it at the same time
that you request a restraining order.
If I want a divorce, where do I get
one?
Divorces are handled by Family Court,
which is part of Superior Court - the
same court that handles restraining
orders. In order to get a divorce, you
may want the assistance of a lawyer.
Can I get a divorce without an
attorney?
Yes, you may file for a divorce
without an attorney - representing
yourself,
pro se (this means you are
acting as your own lawyer).
Although you always have the right
to choose this option, it is
recommended only in simple
uncontested situations where there
are no child custody or support
issues to work out, and no major
property to divide. A “Do It Yourself
Divorce Guide” and courts forms are
available from the Family Court
clerk. See the Civil Court listing in
the Resource Directory at the end of
this
Guide
for the Family Court clerk
nearest you. You can also get
information and court forms from
the website for the Judicial Branch
at
www.jud.state.ct.us
.
Automatic Orders
You should be aware that anytime
someone files for divorce, legal
separation, custody or visitation
in Connecticut, both parties must
obey a series of court orders called
Automatic Orders
. These orders
are designed to prevent the parties
from making major changes
concerning their finances and
their children while the court case
is pending. For example, one of
the
Automatic Orders
prohibits
the parties from moving outside of
Connecticut with their children.
Another order prohibits the parties
from locking each other out of their
shared residence.
A judge could find you in contempt
of court if you do not obey the
Automatic Orders
. However, a
specific
Automatic Order
may not
apply if you already have a court
order, such as a restraining order,
that contradicts an
Automatic
Order
. It is also possible to ask
the court for an exception to an
Automatic Order
. You should
consult with an attorney before
beginning a divorce, legal
separation, custody or visitation
case if you are concerned about
the
Automatic Orders
.