Page 58 - 2011 Guide to Family Violence Laws

This is a SEO version of 2011 Guide to Family Violence Laws. Click here to view full version

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »
53
In addition, some legal aid offices
offer free booklets and classes that
give you all the necessary forms and
teach you how to do your own
divorce. Call Statewide Legal
Services at 1-800-453-3320.
I am an immigrant. Will the court
give me a divorce?
Yes, as long as you meet the legal
requirements that all people have to
meet, such as living in Connecticut
for one year. Our laws about
divorce apply to all people regardless
of their immigration status.
What if I only want a legal
separation?
In Connecticut, a legal separation
requires all of the same legal steps
and expenses as an actual divorce,
and takes just as long to get.
Married people who are not living
together are not necessarily "legally
separated." Only a court order can
grant you a legal separation. Even if
you do not live together for months
or years, you are still considered
married under the law and may be
held responsible for the actions or
debts of your spouse.
A legal separation will establish
child custody and support orders,
and resolve financial and property
disputes. However, at the end of the
process the two spouses are still
legally married and may not marry
anyone else. Sometimes people
choose this option for religious
reasons or tax and Social Security
benefits. You may want to consult
an attorney.
How long does a divorce take?
A divorce takes a minimum of four
months, and may take more than a
year to complete. The length of time
depends upon how many problems
there are to solve between the
parties and how willing both people
are to solve them. Even though a
divorce may take a long time, your
attorney may request that the judge
make certain temporary orders to
protect you while your divorce is still
pending in court (these are called
pendente
lite
orders). These
temporary orders may include a
restraining order,
temporary
custody, child support or other
financial payments. The judge may
also decide who is entitled to live in
the house or apartment until the
divorce is final.
How much does a divorce cost?
If you are eligible for legal aid, you
may be able to obtain your divorce
at little or no cost with the
assistance of a legal aid lawyer.
Unfortunately, there are not enough
legal aid lawyers to represent every
person who needs one. Therefore,
legal aid may not be able to help
you, but they may be able to send
you some information or give you
some advice.
If you earn too much money to be
eligible for legal aid services, then
you may either file for your divorce
pro se
(representing yourself without
an attorney), or you will have to hire
a private attorney. If you represent
yourself, you will probably have to
pay the court fees of $300, plus