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CONNECTICUT DIVORCE LAWYER

The Law Offices of Karen Reynolds, LLC is located in the Greater Bridgeport area of Connecticut, where she has practiced family law for more than 30 years. In Connecticut, family law includes a wide variety of issues that must be resolved or processed through an adversarial court system. Divorces, custody actions, and the smaller details that go along with these actions, such as child support, medical insurance, and parenting plans, are all considered family law. Bridgeport divorce lawyer Karen Reynolds has vast experience assisting individuals with resolving family law needs.

Divorce

Under Connecticut law, anyone seeking a divorce must comply with procedural and jurisdictional requirements. For example, for the Connecticut courts to exercise jurisdiction over a divorce, one spouse must have been a resident of Connecticut for a minimum of one year prior to the filing of the divorce complaint, or one spouse must have lived in the state prior to the marriage and returned to the state prior to the filing of the complaint. People also can seek a divorce in Connecticut if the cause for the end of the marriage occurred after either spouse moved to the state. Most divorces allege that the marriage is irretrievably broken, which is commonly known as a no-fault divorce, but Connecticut allows for fault-based divorces as well.

Child Custody

When people who have a child together end their relationship, they will need to develop an arrangement regarding custody of the child. Custody includes legal custody, which is the right to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, and physical custody, which is the right to spend time with the child. If the parents are unable to come to a custody agreement between them, they can seek intervention from the courts. In determining an appropriate custody arrangement, a Connecticut court will assess what is in the child’s best interest, considering factors such as the child’s relationship with his or her parents and any siblings, the health of each parent and the child, and each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s emotional, physical, and educational needs. Generally, it is presumed that a joint custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest. A divorce attorney in the Bridgeport area can help you pursue the arrangement that is right for your child.

Child Support

All parents are obligated to provide for their children financially, but not all parents possess equal financial means. As a result, in many instances in which the parents of a child do not live together, the courts will order one parent to pay child support to his or her co-parent. In Connecticut, child support obligations are calculated by using statutory guidelines that assess the income of each parent, the division of physical custody, and the cost of raising the child. A court is permitted to deviate from the guidelines if the party seeking a deviation establishes that it is warranted under the circumstances. Generally, a support obligation will continue until a child reaches the age of 18 or, if the child is still in high school, until the child graduates or reaches the age of 19.

Mediation

Simply because a couple no longer wishes to be romantically involved does not mean that they cannot conclude their relationship amicably. Many couples seeking a divorce can avoid lengthy litigation by engaging in mediation. Essentially, mediation is a process during which the parties meet with a neutral third party to discuss the merits of their case and try to come to an agreement. If an agreement is developed, the parties will typically ask the court to approve the agreement, after which it will become a binding contract. Although legal representation is not required during mediation, each spouse should be represented by a Bridgeport divorce attorney who can protect their rights. Karen Reynolds can serve as an attorney during mediation, and she also is a trained mediator who can help resolve family law matters from a neutral position.

Visitation

In some instances, the Connecticut courts will grant one parent primary residential custody of a child. In these cases, the other parent is not automatically precluded from spending time with the child. Instead, the non-custodial parent can seek visitation rights, which are also known as the right to parental access. Generally, a parent seeking visitation will be granted the right to unsupervised visits with his or her child. There are exceptions, however, for cases in which the parent has a history of abuse or dependency on drugs or alcohol, or is otherwise deemed unfit, in which case the court may order that the parent’s visits must be supervised, or it may impose other restrictions.

Alimony

Many spouses have disparate incomes, and if their marriage ends, the lesser-earning spouse may suffer financially. Thus, in some Connecticut divorces, the court will order one spouse to pay alimony to the other spouse. Factors weighed in considering whether alimony is appropriate include the duration of the marriage, the reasons why the marriage ended, and the age, health, and occupation of each party. The court also will evaluate each party’s needs, their respective abilities to earn income, and their assets. Generally, alimony is ordered on a periodic basis, which means that the payments will not continue indefinitely. Additionally, either party can retain a Bridgeport divorce lawyer to seek a modification of the amount of alimony owed if there has been a significant change in circumstances.

Property Settlements

Unlike most states, Connecticut is an “all property” state, which means that all property owned by either party is divisible, regardless of whether it is separate or marital. The courts will distribute property equitably, which does not necessarily mean equally. Instead, the courts will evaluate numerous elements in determining a fair property settlement, including the length of the marriage and the age, health, and income of each spouse. Valuing some types of property may be complex and require the assistance of accountants or other experts.

Prenuptial Agreements

Some people are hesitant to contemplate the possibility of divorce prior to getting married, but a high percentage of marriages end in divorce. It is prudent for people who have significant assets or who are marrying people with financial liabilities to protect themselves with a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are contracts between prospective spouses that can be used to define each person’s property rights in the event of a divorce, and they can address whether either party will be entitled to alimony. Prenuptial agreements cannot be used to establish the terms of child custody or child support obligations. Generally, a prenuptial agreement will be enforced if the spouses entered into it voluntarily, following reasonable and fair disclosures.

Consult a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney

Attorney Karen Reynolds can provide guidance, representation, and advice designed to minimize the trauma, time, and expense to resolve family law issues. With creative, effective counsel, the firm’s clients can make better decisions about their choices to move forward and the manner in which they do so. You can contact Ms. Reynolds via the form online or at 203-377-4770 to set up a confidential and free meeting with a divorce lawyer in the Bridgeport area.

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