Divorce Lawyer: Hartford, New Haven, New London & Fairfield Counties


Divorce Attorneys: Connecticut Family Law Firm

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When looking for a divorce lawyer, it’s essential to retain a skilled attorney. Divorce is a challenging and emotional process for people. At the  McConnell Family Law Firm, we guide you through the process and will protect your rights every step of the way.

  • A good divorce lawyer will help you understand decisions during the divorce process and how those decisions will affect your finances, taxes, and personal life. We take the time to explain everything and answer all of your questions and address any concerns.
  • We guide you through each step and help you make difficult decisions based on information rather than emotions.
  • If you have a will or trust, we review your documents and suggest actions to protect your assets.
  • If you’re a business owner, we explain how divorce impacts your business.
  • For child support or spousal support, our divorce attorneys have the necessary experience to negotiate terms that will be agreeable to you.
  • We are a full-service family law firm equipped to handle all of your family law needs, including divorce.

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Sorry to give a lawyer answer, but: It depends. For divorce matters, we tell “most” of our clients to plan on nine months. A few cases are completed in as little as three months, while others sometimes last more than a year.

Making the decision to contemplate or begin divorce proceedings is a very difficult and emotional one. We always encourage the first step be having an initial consultation. Please see the video above as Attorney Paul McConnell discusses the initial consultation. We are also offering Zoom conferencing in light of current circumstances.

Divorce: Connecticut is a "No-Fault" State

Connecticut is a “no-fault” divorce state.  That means that a spouse does not need to prove “grounds” to obtain a divorce. The court issues a judgment of divorce because the marriage has “irretrievably broken down.”

That said, the court can consider fault in determining the financial orders (alimony and assignment of property). The determination of fault makes a difference in the court’s award when the determining responsibility is substantial and contributes to the marriage breakdown and the loss of marital assets. It plays a much smaller role in today’s divorces than people realize.

Residency Requirement

At least one party must have been domiciled (established residency) continuously in Connecticut for 12 months before the date that the court issues the judgment. You may file for divorce without meeting the 12-month requirement as long as you complete it at the time of the divorce. There are other exceptions to this rule that you can discuss with our office if this is an issue.

Dissolution Procedures

In addition to the Residency Requirement listed above. The legal action is started with a formal complaint. This is a document drawn by your attorney, which gives some of the facts of your marriage and the claim for relief. The claim for relief asks for such things as alimonychild custody, child support, a division of property, or Counsel fees.

The complaint is served by a marshal and contains a summons, which directs your spouse or his or her attorney to file a response with the court on a certain day (called the “return day”). The defendant spouse or his or her lawyer should file a form called an “appearance” so that all further information about the case can be mailed to him or her.

There is a 90-day waiting period after the return day before either party can have the marriage dissolved. However, divorce usually takes longer than 90 days.

While waiting for the 90-day period to end, you may ask for temporary orders of custody, support, visitation, or alimony or ask the court to resolve any other disagreements between the parties. It is also possible for you to seek Orders requiring the other to participate in reconciliation conferences. A divorce attorney from The McConnell Family Law Group can assist you in all of these essential matters.

At the end of the 90-day waiting period, depending on whether or not the action is contested, the case can either be assigned for trial as contested  or set for a hearing as uncontested.

If a case is uncontested, the court proceeding may last less than 15 minutes for the Judge to approve the parties’ agreement, provided the court finds it to be fair and equitable.

If the parties cannot agree about money or the children, the case becomes contested, and both parties will appear for trial before a judge or a referee. A referee is a retired state court judge to whom contested divorces are “referred” for trial.

Alimony and Property Distribution

In Connecticut, a court may order either of the parties to pay alimony to the other. In deciding the amount of alimony, the legislature has ruled that the court shall consider: the length of the marriage; the causes for the dissolution of marriage or legal separation; the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of each of the parties, and any property award which can be awarded to either husband or wife.

In addition, where a parent has been assigned custody of minor children, the court will examine the desirability of the custodial parent securing employment.

Connecticut is an equitable distribution state, which means that Courts are more focused on handling the division of finances and other issues fairly and equitably at the time of dissolution. The goal is to minimize disruption to the family.

A common misconception in divorce is that the marital assets should be divided equally, as in 50% to each partyAnother misconception is that only assets held in joint title by both spouses are subject to distribution. However, equitable distribution is much broader than strict percentages or title.

Connecticut courts may also give either the husband or wife any part of the estate of the other, including real property regardless of title. In making the property assignment, the same standards applied in alimony awards will be used, as will the chance of the husband and wife acquiring future capital assets and income. The contribution of each of the parties to the purchase, preservation, or appreciation in the value of their estates will be considered an integral part of any assignment of property.

Because circumstances may change, support and custody decisions and alimony are always modifiable unless otherwise specified. Property awards are not adjustable.

It is of paramount importance that binding legal documents are prepared with the assistance of experienced Counsel. We are ready and able to assist you.

Child Custody

The legal standard for custody issues in Connecticut is the “best interests of the child,” which means that the court will assess any parenting agreement, child support, and visitation based on what is in the best interests of the child. There are many factors a court will consider in determining what is in the child’s best interest.

The practical result of this standard is that the Courts favor joint legal custody with relatively equal visitation. It is the general belief that children benefit from having both parents involved in their upbringing. However, every case is different. There are situations where joint legal and physical custody is not in the best interests of the child. At McConnell Family Law, we analyze every case on an individual basis and advise what parenting arrangement would be in the best interests of the child under Connecticut law.

If there are children under 18 from the marriage, both parents must attend a parenting class within 60-days after the divorce is filed.

For more information regarding child custody issues in divorce, see our child custody page and blog post.

Divorce Lawyer: Non-Adversarial Divorce

For some marriages, there is the newly adopted non-adversarial divorce process. If you qualify for the non-adversarial divorce, the benefits are obtaining the divorce in less time than the minimum 3-month period and a more peaceful resolution. You may be eligible for the non-adversarial divorce if:

  • You have been married eight years or less
  • Neither spouse is pregnant
  • No children were born or adopted by you before or during the marriage
  • Neither of you has any interest or title in any real property
  • The total value of all property owned by both is less than $35,000
  • Neither of you has a defined benefit pension plan
  • Neither of you has a pending bankruptcy
  • Neither of you is applying for or receiving Medicaid benefits
  • There is no other pending action for dissolution of your marriage
  • There are no restraining or protective orders between you

Suppose you do not qualify for the non-adversarial divorce process but do have a complete agreement on all issues in the divorce. In that case, you may still waive the 90-day waiting period to expedite the dissolution.

Alternative Representation

For many, full representation by a lawyer is unaffordable. Here at McConnell Family Law Group, we offer alternative representation solutions to provide greater access to legal assistance. Different types of limited scope representation include:

  • legal advice concerning a legal problem or case
  • drafting pleadings or briefs for the client known as “ghostwriting.”
  • legal coaching on how to present evidence in court, cross-examine a witness, etc.

Additionally, Connecticut has adopted limited appearances as of January 1, 2016, where an attorney may file a limited appearance in some issues, including family law matters. An example of a limited appearance would be for an attorney to agree to represent a client on one specific motion or hearing but not the entire family law action. Limited appearances are best for post-judgment motions such as custody modification or contempt for violating a court order.

For more information about family law and divorce in Connecticut, see our Divorce FAQs.

Welcome to Our

Hartford Divorce Lawyer and Family Law Office

Divorce, Mediation, Collaborative Divorce. High Net Worth Divorce, Military Divorce, Flat Fee Divorce & More

Finding Peace Through Strength

Helping to Guide Our Clients Through Difficult Times

A Brief Introduction to Collaborative Divorce in Connecticut

Divorce in Connecticut

Divorce is never easy for all parties involved. We understand what you are going through and are your advocates.

The McConnell Family Law Group at our Hartford Office

We are Here for You

With our home office located right in Hartford, we are able to meet with you at your convenience. Hartford is home.

Mediation Lawyers in Connecticut

Mediation Attorneys

Many people look to divorce mediation as a less stressful and more amicable solution to divorceю

Hartford Divorce Lawyers & Family Law

Hartford, New Britain, Middletown, and Rockville

Hartford, Connecticut state capitol

Hartford Divorce Attorneys

Connecticut is a “no-fault” divorce state.  What that means, is a spouse does not need to prove “grounds” to obtain a divorce. The Court issues a judgment of divorce because the marriage has “irretrievably broken down.”

Divorce Mediation in Connecticut

Mediation vs. Divorce

Divorce mediation allows both parties to identify, negotiate and resolve the issues raised by the decision to divorce. The mediator establishes ground rules so that emotionally charged issues can be discussed.

Our Skills & Expertise

When looking for a Hartford Divorce Lawyer, it’s crucial to retain a skilled attorney. Divorce is a challenging, time-consuming, and emotional process for all parties involved. At  McConnell Family Law, we guide you through every step of the process and will protect your rights, every step of the way.

We have offices in Hartford, New Haven, and New Canaan. Additionally, we can facilitate in-person meetings via appointment in Stamford, Greenwich, and Shelton.

50 + Years Experience
50 + Years Experience
Dedication to Clients

Client Testimonials

Martina Cravedi
Martina Cravedi
February 11, 2023
Words cannot express how thankful I am for Paul and his amazing team. The office staff were kind and professional and Paul responded to my inquiry almost immediately. He patiently walked me through a lot of information and quickly set a plan in place that was not only something I was comfortable with, but it also made sense for my situation. I am grateful for his knowledge and warmth during this difficult transition. I would highly recommend Paul and his firm! Thank you for everything!
Jessica Sanders
Jessica Sanders
February 9, 2023
I received a reference for Attorney Paul McConnell after dealing with a long drawn out custody case. Paul reached out to me in a timely manner and spoke to me about new strategies to explore, not only was he very knowledgeable but kind and compassionate at the same time. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for representation. As a veteran myself I have high regards for Paul for holding himself to such high standards of professionalism.
Brandy Spears
Brandy Spears
January 18, 2023
I contacted the McConnell firm for a family law matter. My phone call was handled professionally by the office and the attorney. This firm is very knowledgeable and helpful and I highly recommend them for all of your needs.
kristin lynch
kristin lynch
October 14, 2022
Excellent advice. I would recommend McConnell Family Law to anyone.
Duncan Ferguson
Duncan Ferguson
September 9, 2022
Terrific all around, very responsive and listened to my needs. Helped guide me thru this challenging time.
Mark Chesanek
Mark Chesanek
March 8, 2022
Excellent service, clearly addressed my concern and resolved the issue in a cost effective and timely manner. Highly recommend MFLG.
Eric Hedglin
Eric Hedglin
October 1, 2021
The McConnell Family Law Team (Paul, Donna, & Kathy) is one of the most professional, respected, and effective family law firms in the Hartford Area. I regret not hiring them from the onset of my custody my case. If you are looking for the real-deal, these are the people you want in your corner.
January 20, 2021
Paul is an exceptional, calm and thoughtful attorney. Highly recommended.

Welcome to McConnell Family Law. Our team of talented attorneys has the experience, track record, and dedication to best serve you during difficult times. Our team has decades of experience handling Divorce, Collaborative Divorce, Mediation, and all aspects of family law. Additionally, we handle criminal defense cases and personal injury cases. Here is a snapshot of all our family law practice areas. Give us a call today to discuss your needs or set up a meeting at one of our offices throughout Connecticut.

Paul McConnell

Heidi De la Rosa

Frank Corazzelli

Matthew Crockett

Hartford Superior Court

95 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106

Hartford Superior Court

Hartford Superior Court

95 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106

New Britain Courthouse

20 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051

New Britain Courthouse

New Britain Courthouse

20 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051

Middletown Courthouse

1 Court St, Middletown, CT 06457

Middletown, CT Superior Court

Middletown Courthouse

1 Court St, Middletown, CT 06457

Rockville Courthouse

20 Park St, Rockville, CT 06066

Rockville, Connecticut Courthouse

Rockville Courthouse

20 Park St, Rockville, CT 06066

Hartford Office

638 Prospect Ave. Hartford, CT 06105

  • Note: Saturday and Sunday are phone-in only as well as 5:00pm – 9:00pm Monday – Friday

We can represent you no matter what town you are from, but if your case requires multiple office visits then we recommend selecting our office with the closest proximity. The following non-comprehensive list of towns are probably best served from our Hartford office.

  • Hartford
  • East Hartford
  • West Hartford
  • Glastonbury
  • Farmington
  • Wethersfield
  • Newington
  • Rocky Hill
  • New Britain
  • Bloomfield
  • South Glastonbury
  • East Glastonbury
  • Manchester
  • Windsor
  • South Windsor
  • Berlin
  • East Berlin
  • Cromwell
  • Granby
  • Avon
  • More

Yes, we do. We also have offices in New Haven, New Canaan, Greenwich, Gorton. Additionally, we offer online Zoom meetings.

8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

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