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Hartford Family Law Blog

Connecticut juvenile law issues require experienced guidance

One of the most frightening things that can happen to most Connecticut parents is the prospect of losing custody of a child. Sometimes, an ex-spouse or other adult in the child's life makes an accusation of abuse or neglect. The Connecticut Department of Children and Families is often involved when these accusations are made.

Divorces and other disputes between spouses can get ugly and vengeful. It's not unusual for one parent to accuse the other of abusive or neglectful behavior towards a couple's child. However, proof of this behavior must be presented for a parent to lose custody. Even if a child has already been removed from a parent's custody, our firm can work to help a parent regain custody. Further, under Connecticut law, anyone who knowingly falsely reports child neglect or abuse can be fined or even face prison time.

Connecticut laws guide child support calculation and modification

For Connecticut couples with children who are going through a divorce, child support is often a primary focus of the process. Connecticut's child support guidelines are based on a number of factors. These include both parents' incomes as well as things like medical and daycare expenses.

Since these guidelines are mandatory and based on a specific formula, the process of calculating the amount of child support owed is easier here than in some states. However, it's still essential that it is determined accurately and that both parents accurately report all of their income. We help ensure that our clients' rights are protected, whether they are paying or receiving child support.

How a divorce financial planner can help determine alimony

Alimony reforms reflect the changes in divorce laws. Because divorce was once allowed only for marital misconduct, the "guilty" spouse was often ordered to pay alimony to the person wronged. As no-fault divorce has become more prevalent, alimony is now often based more on economic circumstances and need. However, the length of time and the amount paid can still be unpredictable, and laws vary by state. Various states are reforming alimony laws, but it is a slow, complicated process.

One of the biggest calls for reform revolves around the concept of lifetime alimony. Just two years ago, Massachusetts ended lifetime alimony in most cases, such as when the payor retires or when the recipient begins sharing a home with a partner.

Dividing student loan debt in a Connecticut divorce

Americans are saddled with more student debt than ever before, and that debt, which can easily run into the six figures if you attended an Ivy League school like Yale or got a graduate degree, can follow you into middle age and beyond. For many couples, that means that their student loans outlast their marriage.

What does that mean for divorcing couples? The thought of suddenly being solely responsible for your student loan debt can be overwhelming, particularly if you have more debt than your spouse.

Changing views on parental relocation and Connecticut law

One of the biggest dilemmas that divorced parents face is the relocation of one parent. Studies have found that a move that separates children from one of their parents can have long-term psychological and even physical consequences.

While by all indications, it is preferable for both parents to remain in the same area, that is not always feasible or desirable. There are ways to make a relocation less traumatic for the children involved. One study discussed in the Journal of Family Psychology recommended that parents wait until the child is at least two. That way, he or she is more likely to have the language and cognitive skills to deal with a long-distance relationship. Generally, the older the child is, the better able he or she is to deal with the relocation.

How can a forensic accountant help in your Connecticut divorce?

A key element of every divorce is dividing up a couple's assets and liabilities. This may sound relatively simple, and sometimes it is. However, our lives are becoming ever more financially complicated. You don't have to be part of the one percent to have stock portfolios, retirement plans, business partnerships, trusts and valuable collectibles. Moreover, the older you are when you divorce, the more of these assets you and your spouse have likely accumulated.

If one soon-to-be-ex is less than forthcoming about his or her real income and/or assets, the goal of getting a fair settlement can become even more complicated for the other spouse. People who own their own businesses can often hide income or assets more easily than other people. Even people who are genuinely trying to be fair may forget about a pension from a job they had many years ago, as a June 27 New York Times article on later-in-life divorce noted.

Equal financial control during marriage may ease alimony disputes

The determination of alimony, or spousal support, payments can be one of the most challenging and bitterly-contested aspects of divorce. In fact, there is a request that alimony be modified in almost 80 percent of all divorces. That's understandable since the future financial stability of both spouses may be at stake.

Under Connecticut law, when determining alimony, courts are required to consider factors regarding the marriage itself, including its length and the reason for its dissolution. Income and the potential to earn money, including education and skills, are also to be considered. If one parent is caring for minor children, it needs to be determined whether that parent can or should work outside the home. The health and ages of the spouses may also be factors.

When non-custodial parents contest termination of parental rights

When people with children remarry, the new spouse of the custodial parent often becomes a surrogate parent to those children, particularly if the non-custodial parent is no longer part of the children's lives or is a negative or abusive presence. In these cases, the stepparent often wishes to legally adopt the children to help solidify the relationship. Sometimes foster parents who have been caring for children wish to adopt them.

While this is generally done with the best interests of the children in mind, biological parents may fight the move. For them it means permanently surrendering their parental rights. Even if they do not see or provide financial support for the children, they may fight this step.

Divorce may be the best financial option for some older couples

Divorce rates are increasing among older Americans for a number of reasons. Interestingly, some are purely financial. People are living longer than previous generations. For those who did not adequately prepare by securing long-term care insurance and/or putting enough money away for medical care, the financial costs of growing old can be overwhelming.

Both long-term care and medical expenses are increasing rapidly. A certified financial planner makes the case that in some cases, a divorce is the only way to avoid financial ruin.

How is paternity established in Connecticut?

For many Connecticut parents, the birth of a child is a time of joy and togetherness for both mother and father. However, there are some instances where the paternity of the child is subject to question.

Being named the father of a child carries both legal rights and responsibilities. Some men fight to prove paternity so that they can have legal rights to him or her and be part of the child's life. Others, believing that they may not be the father, seek to prove this so that they do not have to financially support a child who is not theirs. As we note on our website, paternity testing is easy, but what comes next can be complicated.

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West Hartford, CT 06107

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