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Southport Connecticut Family Law Blog

Should you get a divorce or legally separate?

Connecticut residents like you who are considering splitting from your spouse have a number of options available. Today, Reich & Truax will discuss two of them: divorce and legal separation. They can provide unique benefits depending on how they're used and the situation they are used in.

Divorce is a permanent solution to irreconcilable differences in a marriage. There are several different grounds for which you can get a divorce in Connecticut, including intolerable cruelty or adultery. However, irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is the most common reason. After getting a divorce, you are free to remarry. Nothing ties you to your ex-spouse. You will no longer share healthcare, bank accounts, retirement funds, and marriage benefits.

Should you have an open or closed adoption?

If you are unable to have children of your own in Connecticut, you may be considering adoption. There are many avenues you can take with adoption, and using an agency is a popular choice for many parents. Whether you adopt an infant or an older child, you will be able to choose whether to have an open or closed adoption, so it is a good idea to know what each one means and their implications.

According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries, an open adoption is one in which the birth mother or parents are able to keep in contact, and even visit, with the adopted child after the adoption is final. An open adoption may include visitation rights for not only the natural parents, but also for a sibling or grandparents. In a closed adoption, the natural or adoptive parents do not share any identifying information, and there is no ongoing contact.

The difficulty involved in gaining third-party visitation

In Connecticut, it is not always blood ties and legal documents that make a family. At Reich & Truax, PLLC, we know that it is not only possible but fairly common for you to forge a close relationship with a child who is not genetically related to you. It may be a stepchild or the child of a long-term romantic partner from a previous relationship. You may have a grown son or daughter with stepchildren with whom you have shared a bond similar to the one you have with your biological or legally recognized grandchildren. In any case, even with a permanent disruption to the status quo, you may wish the relationship with the child to continue. 

In some cases, it may be possible for you to obtain visitation rights as a third party, but it is not easy. If the child's parent or legal guardian objects, the court is reluctant to grant visitation rights to nonrelatives. Though by no means guaranteed, the court may grant exceptions under the following circumstances: 

  • You can prove that the child's parent is unfit to make decisions for him or her.
  • You provided regular, consistent, unpaid care for the child while he or she was living with you.
  • You can demonstrate that preventing interactions between you and the child will cause him or her harm. 

The basics of stepparent adoption

When people marry someone with children in Connecticut, they usually take on a new role as a stepparent. Because they will have a parental role, some people may want to adopt their spouse's children. Before stepparents decide that adoption is the right path for their family, it is a good idea for them to consider the fine details of the process.

There are many reasons adoption may be a good idea for blended families. Considering Adoption says that adoption can allow people to act as legal parents for their stepchildren. This can be helpful if a stepparent needs to make medical decisions for one of the kids, for example. Sometimes adoption can also ensure that a health insurance plan covers the stepkids. However, it is important for people to understand that the children's other birth parent may have to give up parental rights. In this situation, the other parent usually needs to give his or her consent for the adoption to take place. 

Who gets the reward points after a divorce?

If you and your spouse travel frequently, you have probably accumulated a significant number of hotel points. You may also have thousands of airline miles. While you may want to focus on your home, investment accounts and other major marital assets during your divorce, your reward points may have a significant value to you. 

In Connecticut, judges divide marital property based on what is fair. Splitting up airline miles or rewards points, though, presents unique challenges. So, who gets the reward points after a divorce? The answer probably depends on a few factors. 

How should we handle debt during our divorce?

If you and your spouse in Connecticut have made the difficult decision to end your marriage, you will now face the challenge of figuring out how to split up your assets and move forward with two single lives. A lot of attention is given to property division settlements and, while that is understandable, it is important for you to remember that it is not just your assets that need to be addressed but also your debts.

You may find it tempting to just let your divorce decree outline all responsibilities regarding which one of you will be required to pay which debt. However, Money Management cautions against this approach as it leaves you vulnerable down the road. The big thing you need to know is that a creditor does not pay attention to your divorce, only to the names on a credit account. As long as both names remain on an account, both people will be responsible for the debt in the eyes of the creditor. 

How postsecondary education expenses relate to child support

It goes without saying that, as a Connecticut parent, you want what is best for your child. At Reich & Truax, PLLC, we know that that includes a postsecondary education well suited to your child's interests and abilities. As you prepare for divorce proceedings, however, you probably wonder if your child support order will include a provision requiring you to pay for expenses related to your child's postsecondary education. As is often the case with questions related to divorce, the answer depends on several different factors. 

It is certainly possible for a child support order to include provisions for postsecondary education expenses. However, the law limits the amount that the court can order you to pay. It must not exceed the amount it would require for your child to attend the University of Connecticut, including board and room costs as well as in-state tuition. The law applies regardless of what school your child ultimately decides to attend. If costs for your child to go to a different postsecondary institution exceed those required to attend UCONN, you have the option of working out a plan to defray those costs in a privately contracted separation agreement. 

How can I cope with my divorce emotionally?

Along with the practical consequences of divorce, dealing with the emotional fallout can be just as overwhelming. In this case, knowing how to deal with stress and other negative emotions is invaluable, especially for contentious divorces. Live About offers the following tips in this case, which can help you bounce back emotionally after your marriage has been dissolved.

Do things you love

4 Key Concepts That Could Help Preserve an Art Collection

Most assets are simple to split up in a divorce. Securities, bank accounts and even some real estate holdings liquidate and divide in a relatively straightforward way. Of course, not everything fits the mold. Artworks in particular rank as some of the most complicated assets.

Here are some insights into how divorcing couples tend to divide complex, high-value assets in Connecticut and New York. These guidelines should be useful for anyone who holds significant value in unique articles of any kind, especially original works of art.

What are the two different types of surrogacy arrangements?

As a prospective parent considering alternative reproduction in Connecticut, you may have heard different and confusing terms such as "surrogate" and "gestational carrier." Despite their often interchangeable use, there is a subtle difference between the two that represents a separate surrogacy arrangement.

According to Very Well Family, there are two different types of surrogacy arrangements: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. With the advent of in vitro fertilization, gestational surrogacy is now the most common arrangement made. A gestational surrogate has no biological relationship to the child that she carries for the intended parents. Rather, fertility specialists use IVF to create one or more embryos, usually with one or both of the intended parents' reproductive cells, and transfer one or more of these embryos into the gestational surrogate's uterus. The term "gestational carrier" sometimes applies to these surrogates to emphasize the fact that they are not biological parents to the babies they carry.

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