When the parties reach a settlement agreement in a Connecticut divorce case, they are required (except in a few rare limited circumstances) to appear in the appropriate courthouse for an Uncontested Divorce Hearing. The specific courthouse depends on where the case is filed. For example, if you live in Greenwich or Darien you will be in the Stamford Superior Courthouse. If you live in Fairfield or Trumbull your case will be in the Bridgeport Superior Courthouse.
On the day of an Uncontested Divorce, you are required to have a number of documents signed and filed with the clerk. Specifically, you will need the following: the signed divorce agreement, Financial Affidavits from both parties, and if you have children, an Affidavit Concerning Children and the Child Support Guidelines worksheet. There may be also other documents required, subject to the specific settlement terms of your case.
Upon entering the courthouse on the date of your divorce you will be assigned to appear before a specific judge. The judge, or your attorneys, will ask you a series of questions with regard to your divorce agreement to ensure that you understand the terms and consequences and that you have not been forced to enter into the agreement.
Below is a list of questions that you are generally required to answer while under oath:
- Have you had the opportunity to review the final Separation Agreement in this matter?
- Have you had the opportunity to ask any and all questions of your counsel regarding this case and the Agreement?
- Are you fully satisfied with all of the advice given to you by your counsel regarding this dissolution of marriage action and the Agreement?
- Do you understand all of the Agreement’s terms and conditions?
- Do you understand that you are waiving your right to alimony that means you cannot come back to any court at any other time to seek alimony from the other party? (In cases where a Party is waiving alimony.)
- Has anyone tried to persuade you or force you to enter into this Agreement?
- Do you understand that if you were to have a fully contested trial in this case it is possible that you would receive a more advantageous result or a more detrimental result?
- Under all the circumstances, do you feel this agreement is fair and equitable?
- Are you satisfied with your counsel’s representation in this matter?
- Did anyone force to you enter into the Agreement?
- How is your health?
In addition to the above, your lawyer, or the judge, may run through the salient points of the agreement with you so that the court is fully apprised of the specific terms and conditions. In the event there is something rather unique or complicated in your agreement, the court wants to be sure you understand the issue.
Generally speaking, the actual process takes fifteen (15) minutes or less. Of course, there are other cases on the court’s calendar that day so we often tell clients to be sure to block out the morning or afternoon, as the case may be, because you never know whether you will be called first or last.