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Legal Information: Connecticut


November 2, 2019

What are the grounds for divorce in Connecticut?

Grounds are legally acceptable reasons for a divorce. The judge can grant you a divorce (or legal separation) in Connecticut if:

  • the marriage has broken down permanently; (Note: This “irretrievable breakdown” ground can generally be proven just by one spouse testifying that the marriage has broken down, even if the other spouse says it has not. The rest of the grounds, below, often require a more complex trial in which additional evidence needs to be presented to prove the ground);
  • you and your spouse have lived apart because of being incompatible for a continuous period of 18 months before service of the divorce complaint, and there is no reasonable expectation that you and your spouse will reconcile;
  • adultery (your spouse cheats on you);
  • your spouse intentionally deceived you to enter into the marriage (referred to as a “fraudulent contract” under the law);
  • your spouse purposely deserted/abandoned you for 1 year;
  • your spouse is absent for 7 years without any contact;
  • your spouse habitually abuses alcohol;
  • your spouse is intolerably cruel to you;
  • your spouse is sentenced to life in prison;
  • your spouse committed a crime that is punishable by imprisonment of more than a year and involves a “violation of a conjugal duty”1 (which courts have interpreted to be crimes of a sexual nature);2 or
  • your spouse is confined to a hospital, mental hospital, or other similar institution because of mental illness for at least 5 years within the 6-year period before you filed for divorce.1

1 C.G.S. § 46b-40(c)
2 See Sweet v. Sweet, 21 Conn. Supp. (1957); Swanson v. Swanson, 128 Conn. 128 (1941)