How to obtain a divorce in Connecticut

"A decree of dissolution of a marriage or a decree of legal separation shall be granted upon a finding that one of the following causes has occurred:

(1) The marriage has broken down irretrievably;

(2) the parties have lived apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous period of at least the eighteen months immediately prior to the service of the complaint and that there is no reasonable prospect that they will be reconciled;

(3) adultery;

(4) fraudulent contract;

(5) willful desertion for one year with total neglect of duty;

(6) seven years’ absence, during all of which period the absent party has not been heard from;

(7) habitual intemperance;

(8) intolerable cruelty;

(9) sentence to imprisonment for life or the commission of any infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty and punishable by imprisonment for a period in excess of one year;

(10) legal confinement in a hospital or hospitals or other similar institution or institutions, because of mental illness, for at least an accumulated period totaling five years within the period of six years next preceding the date of the complaint." CONN. GEN. STAT § 46b-40(c).  Fault and no fault grounds for divorce or legal separation. CONN. GEN. STAT Section 46b-51. Stipulation of parties and finding of irretrievable breakdown.


Residency requirement for decree dissolving a marriage

§ 46b-44 (c). A decree dissolving a marriage or granting a legal separation may be entered if: (1) One of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for at least the twelve months next preceding the date of the filing of the complaint or next preceding the date of the decree; or (2) one of the parties was domiciled in this state at the time of the marriage and returned to this state with the intention of permanently remaining before the filing of the complaint; or (3) the cause for the dissolution of the marriage arose after either party moved into this state.

No Fault Divorce:
  "A decree of dissolution of marriage shall be granted upon a finding that one of the following causes has occurred: (1) marriage has broken down irretrievably: (2) the parties have lived apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous period of at least 18 months immediately prior to being served with complaint. CONN. GEN STAT. 46b-40c.   "Incompatibility of personalities is not and has never been a grounds for divorce in Connecticut. Under our laws, married persons are expected to accept the ordinary vicissitudes of marriage caused by unwise mating, unahappy situations, unruly tempers and common quareels or marital wranglings. Nowak v. Nowak, 23 Conn Sup.495,497, 185 A.2d 83 (1962). 

This is a list of the most commonly filed divorce forms for the state of Connecticut. Following the list is a brief summary of each form and its purpose. This list of forms is not exhaustive and not all forms listed are required for every divorce. Due to unique case situations and special divorce filing procedures in Connecticut, certain forms may or may not be required by the Connecticut courts.

Forms List

  • Summons, JD-FM-3
  • Complaint, JD-FM-160
  • Motion for First Order of Notice, JD-CL-44, and Order of Notice, JD-CL-38
  • Appearance, JD-CL-12
  • Cross Complaint, JD-FM-160
  • Application for Waiver of Fees, JD-FM-75
  • Affidavit Concerning Children, JD-FM-163
  • Motion for Temporary Orders
  • Case Management Agreement, JD-FM-161
  • Judgment
  • Dissolution of Marriage Judgment-Uncontested, JD-FM-120, or
  • Dissolution of Marriage Judgment-Default, JD-FM-121
  • Financial Affidavit, JD-FM-6
  • Child Support Worksheet A
  • Withholding Order for Support, JD-FM-1
  • Advisement of Rights
  • Health Department Form, VS-63
  • Military Affidavit
  • Parenting Education Program -- Order, Certificate and Results
  • Separation Agreement
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Order

Summons, JD-FM-3

The Summons informs the Defendant that he or she is being sued for divorce. If the Defendant wishes to contest the divorce, he or she must file an appearance within the return date. The Summons and the Complaint must be served at least 12 days before the return date. The Complaint must be filed in the Superior Court at least six days before the Return Date. The Return Date marks the beginning of a 90-day "cooling off" period. Even if the spouses agree, the divorce cannot be entered for 90 days.

Complaint, JD-FM-160

The Complaint identifies the parties, their children, gives the grounds for the divorce, and stipulates what relief is sought. Served with the Summons, the Complaint comes with an attached to a Notice of Automatic Orders, which prohibit dissipation of assets and stipulate that the parties exchange "complete [and] sworn financial statements within 30 days of the return date." The Clerk of the Court assigns the Complaint a docket number, which is used on all other forms.

Motion for First Order of Notice, JD-CL-44, and Order of Notice, JD-CL-38

The Motion and Order forms are used when the Defendant lives out of state or if he or she is served by registered mail, certified mail or publication. The motion and order require the court’s permission and are used when the Defendant cannot be personally served. In that case, he or she is served by certified mail or by publication.

Appearance, JD-CL-12

When the Defendant completes this form, the Defendant insures that he or she will receive all filings pertinent to the case. If the Defendant does not file an Appearance, the divorce may move through the courts as a default, with the Plaintiff getting everything he or she asks in the Complaint.

Cross Complaint, JD-FM-160

The Defendant may file a Cross Complaint on the same form as the Complaint. A Defendant may elect to file a Cross Complaint for a number of reasons, including his or her opposition to the divorce, incorrect information in the complaint, disagreement about the reasons for the marital breakdown, and a desire for a different outcome than the relief sought by the Plaintiff. Sometimes a Cross Complaint is a preliminary to a contested action.

Application for Waiver of Fees, JD-FM-75

A Plaintiff who cannot pay some or all of the costs associated with a divorce -- the filing fees, the Sheriff’s cost of service and other required fees -- may file an Application for Waiver of Fees. He or she need not necessarily be receiving public assistance to apply for the waiver.

Affidavit Concerning Children, JD-FM-163

The Affidavit Concerning Children, used in compliance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA), identifies the parents and/or anyone who has had legal custody in the last five years, anyone who is involved in custody actions, and anyone who seeks custody or visitation. This form must be signed before a Clerk of the Superior Court, a commissioner of the Superior Court or a Notary Public.

Motion for Temporary Orders

When couples cannot reach agreement during divorce negotiations, sometimes one or both files a Motion for Temporary Orders. These Motions and Temporary Orders, may deal with relief from automatic orders, custody and child support pendente lite, exclusive possession of family residence pendente lite, possession of personal property pendente lite, alimony pendente lite, counsel fees and expert witness pendente lite.

Case Management Agreement, JD-FM-161

Case Management Agreement is used to track and schedule the divorce judgment hearing. The form indicates the status of the case in one of four categories: 1) when the Defendant has not filed an appearance; 2) uncontested, when there is agreement on all issues; 3) limited contested, when financial and property issues are in dispute; and 4) contested, when custody or visitation is at issue. A Plaintiff schedules an uncontested divorce hearing by completing the Case Management Agreement form. If it is not filed by the case management date, both spouses must appear.


The Judgment ends the marriage. It is a court order. The Judgment normally comes in one of two forms. They are as follows: Dissolution of Marriage Judgment-Uncontested, JD-FM-120, which is used when the Defendant has filed an Appearance, or Dissolution of Marriage Judgment-Default, JD-FM-121, which is used when the Defendant has not filed an Appearance.

Financial Affidavit, JD-FM-6

Both spouses must complete Financial Affidavits, which profile their weekly income and weekly expenses, liabilities and assets. The court reviews the Financial Affidavits in conjunction with the Separation Agreement to determine the financial soundness of the agreement.

Child Support Worksheet A

Child Support Worksheet A is used when the combined net income of the mother and father are $1,750 a week or less.

Withholding Order for Support, JD-FM-1

This form is used when alimony or child support is automatically deducted from the paycheck of the Obligor and conveyed to the court, which mails the payment to the recipient.

Advisement of Rights

This form is signed by the Obligor of any spousal or child support. It gives him or her the right "to present any to why an order for withholding effective immediately should not be ordered." The Advisement of Rights is used if there is an order of child or spousal support whether or not there is third-party withholding.

Health Department Form, VS-63

Completed by Plaintiff, this form records the divorce for the vital records of the state.

Military Affidavit

This form must be used if the Defendant does not file an answer and does not appear at the divorce hearing. The form, which must be signed before a Notary Public, Commissioner or Clerk of the Superior Court, certifies that the Defendant is not a member of the military, and does not enjoy an protections from civil litigation afforded by the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act.

Parenting Education Program -- Order, Certificate and Results, JD-FM-149

Parenting Education Program - Order, Certificate and Results is used when the divorcing spouses have children. The parents must attend this program within 60 days of the Return Date of the action.

Separation Agreement

The Agreement describes and defines the terms and conditions of the dissolution. At a minimum it 1) divides and distributes all assets and liabilities, 2) establishes a parenting plan, including custody and visitation, 3) establishes the amount and duration of alimony, if any, 4) arranges the payment of the divorce and 5) stipulates how and under what conditions the agreement may change or terminate.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order

When the benefits of a pension plan are divided as part of the marital settlement, the recipient must prepare a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, which directs a plan administrator to pay a portion of a pension or profit sharing plan to the alternate payee.

Contact an Expert Divorce Attorney

At the Law Offices of Michael R. St. Louis, we are fully prepared to handle your divorce case. As a leading Hartford divorce law firm, we can provide you with the direction and legal counsel you need in your divorce. Call our Law Offices today for your free consultation at 781-816-3950 or contact us online.

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