Divorce law or family law generally concerns the dissolution of marriage, custody and enforcement of divorce decrees. It is often a particularly emotional and difficult area of law, and The Wallman Law Firm has many years of experience handling family disputes and understands their emotional impact. We do all that we can to make it as easy as possible for a client during this difficult time.
In Connecticut, the allocation of assets to the parties upon the dissolution of a marriage is based upon what the Court determines to be equitable, not on a percentage calculation that is set in advance. In deciding the division of assets, the court is required to evaluate certain factors, such as:
- Length of the marriage
- Causes for the dissolution of the marriage
- Each parties’ needs
- Each parties’ age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and liabilities
- Each parties’ opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets and income
The Court is also required to consider the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates. In addition, with some exceptions, in Connecticut virtually all assets owned by the parties at the time of the dissolution of the marriage are considered “marital assets” regardless of where they originated. For example, assets belonging to a particular party prior to the marriage become “marital assets” upon marriage, notwithstanding that the Court will usually consider the source of the assets when distributing them.
In addition, the Court may, in its discretion, make an award of alimony to either party (husband or wife) based upon factors similar to those for the division of assets.
The function of a lawyer and the Court in a dissolution of marriage action are first to arrive at temporary orders that govern the parties’ conduct while the dissolution is pending and then to determine what precise assets are marital assets and their value.
The parties will attempt to resolve the sometimes-difficult issue of how to divide the marital assets and the amount and length of such financial obligations as alimony, child support and the costs of college. While a skillful ability to reach a reasonable consensus between the parties is essential, some cases require a trial whereby the Court itself decides all or most of the issues. This requires experienced trial work and competent presentation of evidence on behalf of the client.
It is also not uncommon for a party to fail to pay what he or she is obligated to pay pursuant to a divorce decree. In some instances, the refusal is willful and the refusing party is financially able to pay. In other instances, the failure to pay is not willful because the refusing party is financially unable to make payment. Depending on the circumstances, the consequences of non-payment may be very different. The Wallman Law Firm has successfully prosecuted actions to collect back due sums and has also successfully defended such actions when non-payment has been determined to be not willful.