Law Offices of Susan Busby LLC

FAQ's

About Divorce or Legal Separation

About Divorce Finances

About Prenuptial Agreements

About Attorney Busby

Resources

About Divorce or Legal Separation

Where do I file for divorce, separation or annulment?
You file in the town where either you or your spouse lives. Click here for a PDF of the list.

How much will my divorce, separation or annulment cost?
The cost of your case depends on the number and complexity of issues involved, how many negotiating sessions you need and how well you and your spouse can work together. Clients are encouraged to do as much as they can on their own to save money, and I make myself available as a resource when needed. I will be able to give you an estimate after learning more about your case.

How long does an action for divorce or legal separation take?
Once the legal paperwork is filed, Connecticut has a 90-day waiting period. During that time we don't wait — we work towards a final settlement. Thus the quickest time your case can be settled is four months; litigated cases can take much longer. Most cases that stay out of court settle within four to six months.

Am I legally separated if I move out?
Legal separation is very different from moving out. A legal separation is a civil action filed in court, very much like an action for divorce. If you move out you are physically but not legally separated.

How does a divorce or legal separation get started?
In Connecticut an action for dissolution (divorce) or legal separation is commenced with the filing of a Summons, Complaint and Notice of Automatic Orders. In litigated cases this paperwork is served by a marshal. In most mediation or collaboration cases we can dispense with the marshal service.

What divorce process is best for me?
The answer to that question depends upon the facts of your case and how much support you want during your case. Once I learn more about you and your unique situation, I will be able to help you make that determination.

How much will I pay/receive in child support?
Child support is based on a formula that includes the income of both parties, certain allowable deductions and deviations based on special circumstances. After obtaining this information from you, I will be able to determine what the child support amount will be.

What if I don't want to get divorced?
In Connecticut if one spouse is ready to file for divorce he or she can proceed. This can leave the other spouse feeling powerless. In the mediation or collaborative process, I listen to what is important to each spouse and work to help you make a joint decision because this will ultimately work best for both of you. We discuss all of the available options for married couples including separation, divorce, therapy and marital mediation.

Can I keep my spouse's health insurance after a divorce?
No. As part of the divorce you will either need to obtain COBRA benefits through your spouse's employer or obtain private insurance on your own. COBRA is available to a divorced spouse for three years following a divorce.

How is property divided between separating or divorcing spouses in Connecticut?
Property is divided by equitable distribution. This means it is divided fairly, not necessarily equally. There are twelve statutory factors that come into play when dividing property including: the cause of the breakdown of the marriage, your age, health, occupation, vocational skills, employability, length of marriage, amount and sources of income, station (standard of living), estate, liabilities, needs, opportunity to acquire future assets and income, and what each person contributed to the acquisition, preservation or maintenance of the value of their estates. Connecticut case law interpreting this statute provides further guidance.

What is the 'Parenting Education' requirement?
In Connecticut when parents decide to separate or divorce, they must participate in a government-sponsored or private parenting education program. These programs educate parents about what the divorce is like from the eyes of their children, the do's and don'ts of co-parenting, and tips to have a successful co-parenting relationship. The government-sponsored course is six hours long and is offered during the week or on weekends. A private course can be tailored to fit your needs.

What are Automatic Orders?
Automatic Orders, or Notice of Automatic Orders, is part of the legal documents that are used to start a divorce, legal separation or annulment in Connecticut. This document, along with the Summons and Complaint, are prepared by the person starting the legal action. This Notice has a list of rules that apply to both spouses. These rules provide, in essence, that neither spouse takes any extraordinary action with their finances or their children; this also prohibits changes to insurance. Click here for a pdf of the Notice of Automatice Orders.

What does 'No Fault' divorce mean?
In Connecticut a couple can get divorced without one party having to prove that the other was at fault in order to have the Court grant your divorce.

See also Legal Terms for definitions »

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About Divorce Finances

How is property divided between divorcing spouses in Connecticut?
Property is divided by equitable distribution. This means it is divided fairly, not necessarily equally. There are twelve statutory factors that come into play when dividing property including: the cause of the breakdown of the marriage, your age, health, occupation, vocational skills, employability, length of marriage, amount and sources of income, station (standard of living), estate, liabilities, needs, opportunity to acquire future assets and income, and what each person contributed to the acquisition, preservation or maintenance of the value of their estates. Connecticut case law interpreting this statute provides further guidance.

Can I keep my spouse's health insurance after a divorce?
No. As part of the divorce you will either need to obtain COBRA benefits through your spouse's employer or obtain private insurance on your own. COBRA is available to a divorced spouse for three years following a divorce.

How much will I pay/receive in child support?
Child support is based on a formula that includes the income of both parties, certain allowable deductions and deviations based on special circumstances. After obtaining this information from you, I will be able to determine what the child support amount will be.

How much will I pay/receive in alimony?
Unlike child support calculations that are based on a formula, alimony is determined on a case by case basis. The support statute and our case law provides some guidance to couples, judges and attorneys.

The statutory factors include:

  • the causes for the breakdown of your marriage,
  • your age,
  • health,
  • occupation,
  • vocational skills,
  • employability,
  • length of marriage,
  • amount and sources of income,
  • station (standard of living),
  • estate,
  • liabilities,
  • the needs of each of the parties, and
  • the desirability of a parent securing employment if that parent has an award of custody of the children

Another difference between alimony and child support is that alimony is tax-deductible to the payor and must be included in the taxable income of the recipient; child support is not tax-deductible to the payor and not deemed taxable income to the recipient. The Internal Revenue Service has defined alimony and to qualify the payments as taxable or tax-deductible, the payments must meet certain requirements:

  1. the payments be made in cash (check or money order);
  2. the payments are made pursuant to a written agreement or order;
  3. the spouses do not live in the same household;
  4. payments made to third parties on behalf of the payee spouse are documented in writing as alimony;
  5. the payments terminate upon the death of either spouse;
  6. the spouses do not file a joint tax return for the year in which the payment are made and
  7. the agreement does not designate the payments as non-taxable.

Because this is a federal statute, these taxability rules do not apply to same sex couples.

What is a Financial Affidavit?
Both spouses need to file a Financial Affidavit with the court at the time of their final hearing in a mediation and collaborative case. In a litigated case, a Financial Affidavit also needs to be prepared and submitted at each contested hearing. The Financial Affidavit summarizes each spouse’s income, expenses, debts and assets.

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About Prenuptial Agreements

Do I need a Prenuptial Agreement?
Common reasons for people to want a prenuptial agreement is to provide for children from a prior marriage, retain control of a family business, keep inherited property separate, define what will happen to certain assets on the death of one or both persons, and determine what asset division and support rules will apply instead of allowing a judge to apply Connecticut statutes, allocate family expenses and resources. A Prenuptial Agreement needs to be prepared before you are married, and often takes several weeks to several months to negotiate and prepare. I can help you determine if this would be of benefit to you.

How long does it take to draft a Prenuptial Agreement?
While the Prenuptial Agreement itself may not take more than several hours to draft, negotiating the terms of the agreement can take weeks to several months. The timeframe will depend on the complexity of the assets involved, the terms agreed upon and your future spouse’s willingness to cooperate.

How much does it cost to prepare a Prenuptial Agreement?
The cost to prepare a Prenuptial Agreement will depend on the time involved to negotiate and prepare the Agreement. It will also depend on the complexity of your situation. If you and your future spouse can work well together and have already discussed the Prenuptial Agreement then the cost will be less than for a couple who has never discussed a Prenuptial Agreement or a situation where one person is opposed to the idea of a Prenuptial Agreement.

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About Attorney Busby

How can I contact Attorney Susan Busby?
You can contact me by email at susan@susanbusby.com or by phone at 860-521-0237.

Where is Attorney Susan Busby's Office?
My office is in West Hartford Center near the corner of Farmington Avenue and North Main Street, in the same building as Sally and Bob's Eatery. The street address is 10 North Main Street, Suite 313, West Hartford, Connecticut 06107. Plenty of free parking is available in the lot behind the building, which is accessible from North Main Street, or from Farmington Avenue passing through the Bank of America parking lot to mine. See MapQuest for directions.

Read my bio for more detailed information.

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Law Offices of Susan Busby 10 North Main Street, Suite 313, West Hartford, CT 06107, Tel: 860-521-0237