Attorney David Rubin
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How long do grounds for divorce have to last?

Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to get a divorce, and very few are pleasant. The best you could possibly find is a couple that just realizes they are incompatible. If they still relatively get along, they can simply file for a “no-fault” divorce and handle the asset division with hopefully little controversy.

However, many Connecticut couples can have some disturbing or heartbreaking grounds for their separation. Since Connecticut is not strictly a “no-fault” state, divorcees can cite their reasoning and possibly gain an advantage in property division if the court believes their claims. Before you begin planning, it is crucial to note that certain legal grounds require a specific amount of time to pass before they can count legitimately. You must be able to distinguish which reasons can be cited immediately and which ones require an exact time period.

Imprisonment and confinement

A criminal conviction can serve as justifiable grounds for divorce and is one of the easier grounds to argue for your side. The court will have fewer assumptions since the spouse has already been found to be guilty of something. However, Connecticut does require more than a simple conviction for it to be legal grounds. They specify that the prison sentence must last more than a year. If your spouse commits a petty crime and gets a few weeks or months in jail, it will not be enough.

Those with spouses confined to a mental illness institution will have to wait a little longer. Out of the last 6 years, your future ex would have to be legally confined for 5 of them. Though mental illnesses do have a strong correlation with divorce, there is no specific section in Connecticut’s divorce laws citing mental illness without 5 years of confinement as a legal ground for separation.


Connecticut has two different legal grounds for abandoning a spouse. It depends on if you can prove or explain where your spouse went to that determines the time necessary to count as legal grounds. If you convince the court that your spouse willfully deserted you for at least one year, then the court can count your reasoning.

If your spouse disappears without giving any hints as to where they are or what they are doing, then the court will need at least 7 years before they can count this unexplained absence.

Immediate grounds

Thankfully, not all grounds for divorce require you to wait years before they can count legally. You can file for a fault divorce immediately if your spouse:

  • Committed adultery
  • Demonstrated acts of cruelty or violence
  • Has a drug or alcohol addiction
  • Committed contract fraud

While it is beneficial for Connecticut citizens to have the option to file for a fault divorce so they can get more assets for their spouse’s bad behavior, they must also be heavily prepared to convince the court of their spouse’s guilt. With how much divorce grounds impact asset division, child custody and potential alimony, it is important to find a professional family law attorney to help you prepare your case.

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