What is litigation and when might a divorce case go to litigation? 

Many people wonder what litigation is or how it works. In divorce cases, litigation is typically a last resort. Supposed counseling has been ineffective or non-participatory. Mediation has either failed or is not a viable option since one or both parties refuses to attend – or perhaps emotional impediments loom too large. Divorce as an end result is a given; the only remaining route to that goal is litigation.

Litigation refers to the filing of a lawsuit. Initial pleadings are filed (more on this, below), the filing fee is paid, and the great unknown – the legal process – begins to take shape with its own deadlines, rules, procedures, and local practices. Every litigant in state court – lawyer or not – is presumed (for better or worse) to know the rules of court, which are set forth in a daunting publication known as the Connecticut Practice Book. The friendly-sounding, simple name is misleading.

At multiple volumes, hundreds of pages (or countless clicks down the screen, since the Practice Book is also published and updated online), it is a tall order for most litigants in a divorce action to familiarize themselves with civil practice, filing of pleadings and motions, the “discovery” mechanisms available to each party, and the role of the judge in a dissolution action.

This publication is intended to demystify the process for the divorce litigant. It is not intended to replace the services of an experienced family law practitioner who can effectively advocate for a divorcing party. There are hundreds of attorneys in Fairfield County alone, a very many of whom claim to practice family law.

If you have any questions about divorce in Connecticut, please contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.