Is Connecticut a “No Fault” State?
I am often asked if Connecticut is a “no fault” state or whether fault is a factor in a Connecticut divorce. These are two separate questions with two distinct answers.
Under Connecticut law, fault does not need to be pled or proven in order for a party to be granted a divorce. Put another way, your spouse cannot object to the granting of a divorce on the grounds that there is no fault. Everyone is entitled to get divorced in Connecticut.
In almost all situations, Connecticut divorces are granted on the grounds that the marriage has “broken down irretrievably”. However, under Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-40(c), a divorce can be granted based upon such factors as “living apart for more than 18 years with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation”, “adultery”, or “intolerable cruelty”.
Although you do not need to prove fault to get divorced in Connecticut, fault can be a factor in the determination of property distribution and alimony. Specifically, under both Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-81 (property distribution) and Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-82 (alimony), the Court may, but is not required, to consider as a factor “the causes for the dissolution” in dividing the marital estate or ordering spousal support. Since the reason for the divorce is a factor that the court may consider in determining marital property and alimony, a litigant is entitled to present evidence of fault at a trial on these issues.