Connecticut Family
Law Attorneys

Grounds for divorce in Connecticut

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Divorce |

Understanding the legal grounds for divorce is important for anyone considering this major life transition in Connecticut. The state allows for both fault and no-fault divorces, providing flexibility in how parties can approach the dissolution of their unions. 

What does that mean? It essentially means that if you’re thinking about filing for divorce, you have options. Some states don’t recognize both fault-based and no-fault approaches to the divorce process, but Connecticut does. Although most divorce filings are classified as no-fault, there may be reasons to consider a fault-based approach, depending on the nature of your unique circumstances. 

No-Fault Divorce

Connecticut recognizes the “irretrievable breakdown” of marriage as a ground for no-fault divorce. This ground is based on the assertion that a marriage has irreparably broken down with no hope for reconciliation. 

Unlike fault-based divorces, no-fault divorces do not require spouses to prove wrongdoing by the other party. This approach can lead to a less contentious divorce process, as it doesn’t involve airing personal grievances in a public forum. The focus in a no-fault divorce is typically on negotiating settlements and custody arrangements without delving into the reasons behind the marital breakdown.

Fault-Based Divorce

In addition to no-fault options, Connecticut law permits divorces based on several fault grounds, which include:

  • Adultery: Engaging in sexual relations with someone other than one’s spouse during the marriage is considered grounds for divorce. Proof of adultery often requires clear evidence.
  • Fraudulent Contract: If one spouse entered into the marriage under fraudulent pretenses, this could serve as grounds for divorce. 
  • Willful Desertion and Non-Support: A spouse who has willfully deserted their partner for at least 12 consecutive months, with no intention to return or without justification, provides grounds for a fault divorce. Similarly, failing to provide financial support during this period, despite having the ability to do so, also qualifies under this ground.
  • Habitual Intemperance: If a spouse has an issue with alcoholism or drug use that impacts the marriage, this can be cited as a ground for divorce.
  • Intolerable Cruelty: Physical or emotional cruelty that makes continued living together untenable can be grounds for divorce. This includes abuse, threats and behavior that severely undermines the health or safety of the spouse.
  • Imprisonment: The imprisonment of a spouse for an extended period during the marriage is also a recognized fault ground.

Choosing between no-fault and fault-based divorce grounds isn’t always a straightforward process. Carefully assessing your situation and the potential impacts of both options can help you to make an informed decision.