Connecticut Separation Agreements Law

Divorce – Separation Agreements – Connecticut

Note:  This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law of separation agreements in Connecticut, but does include basic and other provisions.

General Summary: Separation and Property Agreements may be entered into before a divorce is filed to be effective when signed.  They are in effect a contract.  When presented to the court for incorporation, the court will inquire into the resources available to satisfy the needs of the parties and determined if the agreement is fair and equitable under all the circumstances.

Separation agreements may also be entered into after the divorce is filed to resolve all issues.

Statutes:

Review of agreements; incorporation into decree:
In any case under this chapter where the parties have submitted to the court an agreement concerning the custody, care, education, visitation, maintenance or support of any of their children or concerning alimony or the disposition of property, the court shall inquire into the financial resources and actual needs of the spouses and their respective fitness to have physical custody of or rights of visitation with any minor child, in order to determine whether the agreement of the spouses is fair and equitable under all the circumstances. If the court finds the agreement fair and equitable, it shall become part of the court file, and if the agreement is in writing, it shall be incorporated by reference into the order or decree of the court. If the court finds the agreement is not fair and equitable, it shall make such orders as to finances and custody as the circumstances require. If the agreement is in writing and provides for the care, education, maintenance or support of a child beyond the age of eighteen, it may also be incorporated or otherwise made a part of any such order and shall be enforceable to the same extent as any other provision of such order or decree, notwithstanding the provisions of section 1-1d.  Sec. 46b-66. (Formerly Sec. 46-49).

Case Law:

It is a fundamental policy of the Connecticut courts  to promote settlement by agreement where possible in dissolution cases.  Jenks v. Jenks, 34 Conn. App. 462, 468-70, 642 A.2d 31 (1994), rev’d on other grounds, 232 Conn. 750, 657 A.2d 1107 (1995)  Private settlements of domestic financial affairs are to be encouraged and courts should support such agreements. Hayes v. Beresford, 184 Conn. 558, 568, 440 A.2d 224 (1981).

This does not mean that any agreement between the parties will be enforced.  For example, the trial court is not bound by terms of parties’ agreement on alimony if court determines that stipulation is not fair and equitable.  See Sands v. Sands, 188 Conn. 98, 103, 448 A.2d 822 (1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1148, 103 S.Ct. 792, 74 L.Ed.2d 997 (1983)

Where the parties’ written agreement regarding, for example, alimony is fair and equitable, the court is authorized to incorporate that agreement by reference into its dissolution judgment. See General Statutes § 46b-66. A judgment rendered in accordance with such a stipulation of the parties is to be regarded and construed as a contract.  Barnard v. Barnard, 214 Conn. 99, 109, 570 A.2d 690 (1990).

Once the provisions of a separation agreement, including provisions for the post majority education of children, are incorporated into the dissolution judgment, they can be modified by court order only if the agreement so incorporated does not preclude modification. See General Statutes 46b-86; Albrecht v. Albrecht, 19 Conn. App. 146, 152, 562 A.2d 528, cert. denied, 212 Conn. 813, 565 A.2d 534 (1989)


Inside Connecticut Separation Agreements Law