New Haven Family Lawyer
A Compassionate Trial Attorney Helping You Reach a Resolution
At The Law Offices of Thomas J. Piscatelli, LLC, you can expect to work with a compassionate and experienced attorney who will put his years of trial experience to use as he represents your interests in court. Throughout his practice, Attorney Thomas J. Piscatelli has traveled throughout Connecticut courthouses for his family law practice and has litigated divorce and custody cases at every superior courthouse in the State. He handles everything from simple divorces resolved within a few months to complex trials complete with child psychiatrists and expert witnesses. Attorney Piscatelli is also a certified Guardian ad Litem in which he protects the rights and interests of minor children.
Attorney Piscatelli aims to foster a communicative environment for his clients to ensure that your needs and goals as a spouse and parent are heard in and out of the courtroom. Whether you seek legal guidance as you file for divorce, draft a prenuptial agreement, or seek emergency custody in Connecticut, Attorney Piscatelli is here for you.
Filing for Divorce in Connecticut
In Connecticut, couples can file for divorce on no-fault or fault grounds. To file for no-fault divorce, spouses can cite an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or separation (the spouses have lived separate and apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous 18 months prior to the divorce). To file for fault divorce, they may cite factors like adultery, willful desertion, intolerable cruelty, among other reasons. Note that Connecticut divorce statutes permit a judge to take the causes of the divorce into consideration when dividing marital property or awarding alimony, depending on the circumstances of the case.
To begin the divorce process in Connecticut, a spouse will have to fill out a “Summons Family Actions” and “Divorce Complaint/Cross Complaint,” where they will cite relevant personal information, such as any shared children and the reason for divorce. From there, individuals should expect to wait at least 90 days after the date when papers have to be served and filed to receive a judgment of divorce.
To finalize a divorce, spouses may reach an agreement between themselves or after a trial in front of the judge. In cases when spouses are cooperative and can work through disagreements, they can ask a neutral third party (a mediator) to help them settle the case in a confidential mediation proceeding. Once the spouses have agreed on all their divorce issues, such as child custody and alimony, they can then go to court on their divorce hearing date with their completed forms, and the judge will review their Dissolution Agreement and declare the couple divorced. If the spouses don’t agree on all issues, the judge will schedule a separate trial date for the spouses to return. An experienced family attorney like Attorney Thomas J. Piscatelli can better help prepare for such a trial and ensure that your rights as a spouse and parent are being protected.
A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract between two individuals planning to get married. Through a prenup, spouses can decide how to divide certain property and income during a marriage and in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements commonly establish boundaries for separate property (property acquired before the marriage) and may also address how their joint or marital property, assets, and income will be treated during and, if applicable, after marriage. Prenuptial agreements can also set limits on alimony.
Note that prenuptial contracts must meet a stringent set of requirements in order to be valid. Connecticut’s Premarital Agreement Act (“PAA”) establishes that a prenup is not enforceable if the spouse against whom it is being enforced proves that:
- they did not execute (sign) the agreement voluntarily (e.g., the spouse signed the agreement as a result of the other spouse’s threats);
- the agreement was unconscionable when it was executed;
- the agreement would be unconscionable at the time of enforcement;
- before signing the prenup, they did not receive fair and reasonable disclosure of the amount, character and value of property, financial obligations, and income of the other spouse; or
- they were not afforded a reasonable opportunity to consult with their own attorney.
It is often a good safeguard to create a prenuptial agreement to avoid any marital complications in the future. If you and your spouse are interested in drafting a prenup, work with an experienced family lawyer like Attorney Piscatelli to ensure that you cover all the bases in your agreement, especially in anticipation of particularly relevant components like alimony and marital and separate property.
Emergency Custody Orders
Connecticut offers a few different custody options for separating parents, such as legal and physical custody, which may be ordered solely for one parent or jointly for both. In certain circumstances, though, a parent may request an emergency custody order. Connecticut law states that a parent may make a request with the Superior Court for an emergency ex parte order of custody of a minor child when they believe an immediate and present risk of physical danger or psychological harm to the child exists. The application should contain an affidavit made under oath which includes a statement:
- of the conditions requiring an emergency ex parte order;
- that an emergency ex parte order is in the best interests of the child; and
- of the actions taken by the applicant or any other person to inform the respondent of the request or why the court should consider such application on an ex parte basis absent such actions.
The court will order a hearing after receiving the above application. If, prior to or after the hearing, the court finds that an immediate and present risk of physical danger or psychological harm to the child exists, the court may issue an emergency order for the protection of the child. The emergency order may provide temporary child custody or visitation rights and may prohibit the respondent from:
- removing the child from the state;
- interfering with the applicant’s custody of the child;
- interfering with the child’s educational program; or
- taking any other specific action if the court determines that prohibiting such action is in the best interests of the child.
Call (203) 528-0890 for Legal Support Today
If you are facing a family law issue, whether related to divorce, prenuptial agreements, or custody orders, it is best to enlist the help of an experienced attorney to handle your case. Attorney Thomas J. Piscatelli is an experienced trial lawyer who will do his best to guide you to a settlement of your family matter. He will aim to streamline cooperative conversations between spouses and parents and protect your and your children’s rights in the face of separation.
For legal help in your family case in New Haven, Connecticut, contact The Law Offices of Thomas J. Piscatelli, LLC online or by phone at (203) 528-0890.