In Connecticut, to get a divorce one party must bring a lawsuit seeking a divorce in a Connecticut state court against the other party. The spouse bringing the divorce lawsuit is called the plaintiff, and the other spouse is called the defendant. The initial filing with the court is called the divorce complaint. A typical divorce complaint simply seeks a divorce, a fair property settlement, and appropriate child custody arrangements
After the case is filed each party is required to exchange certain financial information so that each party has all of the necessary information to allow them to make informed financial decisions. As the case progresses each party has the right to seeking additional information from the other party through the filing of written questions called interrogatories, or oral question and answer sessions called depositions.
If the parties are able to reach an agreement regarding the issues in the divorce case, then the agreement is reduced to writing, and, if approved by the Court, is made a Court order. If the parties are not able to reach an agreement, then there will be a divorce trial. At the divorce trial, each side with present evidence, cross examine witnesses, and make arguments to the Court explaining why they deserve what they are seeking in the case. The divorce trial is a trial before a single judge, not a jury. The trial is open to the public, although most times the only people in the courtroom are the parties to the case. At the end of the divorce trial, the Court will make a decision about the property settlement, child custody, and child support. The parties are then bound by the Court’s decision unless there is an appeal to a higher level Court called the Connecticut Appellate Court. Appeals in divorce cases are rare, however.