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The role of judicial discretion on a divorce case in Connecticut

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Divorce

Judicial discretion plays a major role in many Connecticut divorces. It refers to the authority granted to judges to make decisions based on their own judgment and interpretation of the law. In these cases, strict legal guidelines do not bound judges.

In this way, judges can influence divorce cases quite a bit. For example, take the theoretical situation of 10 judges who exercise discretion in the same case. All 10 might come up with different results, depending on their view of what is equitable.

Best interests of the parties

One primary function of judicial discretion is to consider the best interests of the parties. Judges must weigh various factors. They include the financial situation of both spouses, the presence of children and any instances of misconduct or abuse. By using discretion, judges can tailor their decisions to the specific needs and circumstances of the divorcing couple. The aim is a fair and equitable outcome.

Division of marital assets and debts

Connecticut follows the principle of equitable distribution. Marital property undergoes fair but not necessarily equal division.

Judges can consider factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions to the marriage and their respective financial needs and earning capacities. This flexibility allows judges to fashion settlements that reflect the unique dynamics of each case.

Spousal support

Judicial discretion also comes into play when determining alimony or spousal support payments. In Connecticut, judges have broad discretion to award alimony based on factors such as the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage and each spouse’s earning capacity and financial needs.

The median household income in Stamford is $100,718, and it can change after a divorce. Judges have the flexibility to order alimony awards that provide for the financial security of the receiving spouse while considering the paying spouse’s ability to meet their obligations.

Judicial discretion is particularly significant in divorce cases. The unique circumstances of each couple may lead to unique outcomes.