Connecticut Divorce Laws

Chapter 815j Dissolution Of Marriage, Legal Separation And Annulment

Sec. 46b-40. (Formerly Sec. 46-32). Grounds for dissolution of marriage; legal separation; annulment.

(a) A marriage is dissolved only by (1) the death of one of the parties or (2) a decree of annulment or dissolution of the marriage by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(b) An annulment shall be granted if the marriage is void or voidable under the laws of this state or of the state in which the marriage was performed.

(c) A decree of dissolution of a marriage or a decree of legal separation shall be granted upon a finding that one of the following causes has occurred: (1) The marriage has broken down irretrievably; (2) the parties have lived apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous period of at least the eighteen months immediately prior to the service of the complaint and that there is no reasonable prospect that they will be reconciled; (3) adultery; (4) fraudulent contract; (5) willful desertion for one year with total neglect of duty; (6) seven years' absence, during all of which period the absent party has not been heard from; (7) habitual intemperance; (8) intolerable cruelty; (9) sentence to imprisonment for life or the commission of any infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty and punishable by imprisonment for a period in excess of one year; (10) legal confinement in a hospital or hospitals or other similar institution or institutions, because of mental illness, for at least an accumulated period totaling five years within the period of six years next preceding the date of the complaint.

(d) In an action for dissolution of a marriage or a legal separation on the ground of habitual intemperance, it shall be sufficient if the cause of action is proved to have existed until the time of the separation of the parties.

(e) In an action for dissolution of a marriage or a legal separation on the ground of wilful desertion for one year, with total neglect of duty, the furnishing of financial support shall not disprove total neglect of duty, in the absence of other evidence.

(f) For purposes of this section, "adultery" means voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person other than such person's spouse.

Sec. 46b-41. (Formerly Sec. 46-36a). Complaint includes cross-complaints or cross actions.

Whenever the word "complaint" is used in this chapter or section 46b-1 or 51-348a, it shall include cross-complaints or cross actions where appropriate.

Sec. 46b-42. (Formerly Sec. 46-33). Jurisdiction.

The Superior Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all complaints seeking a decree of annulment, dissolution of a marriage or legal separation.

Sec. 46b-43. (Formerly Sec. 46-34). Capacity of minor to prosecute or defend.

Any married minor may, in his own name, prosecute or defend to final judgment an action for annulment or dissolution of a marriage or for legal separation and may participate in all judicial proceedings with respect thereto.

Sec. 46b-44. (Formerly Sec. 46-35). Residency requirement.

(a) A complaint for dissolution of a marriage or for legal separation may be filed at any time after either party has established residence in this state.

(b) Temporary relief pursuant to the complaint may be granted in accordance with sections 46b-56 and 46b-83 at any time after either party has established residence in this state.

(c) A decree dissolving a marriage or granting a legal separation may be entered if: (1) One of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for at least the twelve months next preceding the date of the filing of the complaint or next preceding the date of the decree; or (2) one of the parties was domiciled in this state at the time of the marriage and returned to this state with the intention of permanently remaining before the filing of the complaint; or (3) the cause for the dissolution of the marriage arose after either party moved into this state.

(d) For the purposes of this section, any person who has served or is serving with the armed forces, as defined by section 27-103, or the merchant marine, and who was a resident of this state at the time of his or her entry shall be deemed to have continuously resided in this state during the time he or she has served or is serving with the armed forces or merchant marine.

Sec. 46b-45. (Formerly Sec. 46-36). Service and filing of complaint.

(a) A proceeding for annulment, dissolution of marriage or legal separation shall be commenced by the service and filing of a complaint as in all other civil actions in the Superior Court for the judicial district in which one of the parties resides. The complaint may also be made by the Attorney General in a proceeding for annulment of a void marriage. The complaint shall be served on the other party.

(b) If any party is an inmate of a mental institution in this state, a copy of the complaint shall be served on the Commissioner of Administrative Services personally or by registered or certified mail. If any party is confined in an institution in any other state, a copy shall be so served on the superintendent of the institution in which the party is confined.

Sec. 46b-45a. Allegation of pregnancy in pleadings. Disagreement as to paternity. Hearing.

(a) If, during the pendency of a dissolution or annulment of marriage, the wife is pregnant, she may so allege in the pleadings. The parties may in their pleadings allege and answer that the child born of the pregnancy will or will not be issue of the marriage.

(b) If the parties to a dissolution or annulment of marriage disagree as to whether or not the husband is the father of the child born of the pregnancy, the court shall hold a hearing within a reasonable period after the birth of the child to determine paternity.

Sec. 46b-46. (Formerly Sec. 46-39). Notice to nonresident party. Jurisdiction over nonresident for alimony and support.

(a) On a complaint for dissolution, annulment, legal separation or custody, if the defendant resides out of or is absent from the state or the whereabouts of the defendant are unknown to the plaintiff, any judge or clerk of the Supreme Court or of the Superior Court may make such order of notice as such judge or clerk deems reasonable. After notice has been given and proved to the court, the court may hear the complaint if it finds that the defendant has actually received notice that the complaint is pending. If it does not appear that the defendant has had such notice, the court may hear the case, or, if it sees cause, order such further notice to be given as it deems reasonable and continue the complaint until the order is complied with. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the jurisdictional requirements of chapter 815p in a complaint for custody.

(b) The court may exercise personal jurisdiction over the nonresident party as to all matters concerning temporary or permanent alimony or support of children, only if: (1) The nonresident party has received actual notice under subsection (a) of this section; and (2) the party requesting alimony meets the residency requirement of section 46b-44.

Sec. 46b-47. (Formerly Sec. 46-40). Complaint for dissolution of marriage on ground of confinement for mental illness; procedure.

(a) A copy of the writ and complaint in an action or cross action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation on the ground of confinement for mental illness shall be served on the adverse party, on the conservator, if any, and on the Commissioner of Administrative Services at Hartford. Service on the conservator, if resident outside the state, and on the commissioner, may be made by registered or certified mail. If the adverse party is confined in any other state, a copy shall be served on the superintendent of the institution in which the adverse party is confined.

(b) If the conservator does not appear in court, or if the adverse party has no conservator, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the adverse party.

(c) On motion of either party, the court shall appoint two or more psychiatrists who are diplomates of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and who are not on the staff of any state hospital for mental illness, who shall investigate the mental status of such person. Within a reasonable time thereafter, the psychiatrists shall report to the court the facts found by them together with their opinion as to the probability of further indefinite prolonged hospitalization for the mental illness. The testimony of no psychiatrists other than those appointed by the court shall be received upon the trial of such action.

(d) The fees and expenses of the psychiatrists and of the guardian ad litem shall be fixed by the court and shall be paid by the plaintiff.

Sec. 46b-48. (Formerly Sec. 46-37). Dissolution of marriage or annulment upon conviction of crime against chastity; procedure.

When any married person has been convicted in any court of an offense against chastity which would be ground for dissolution or annulment of the marriage, any person aggrieved may petition the Superior Court within four months of the conviction, and upon notice to the person convicted, the court may grant a dissolution or annulment of the marriage or such other relief as the court determines. No provision of this section shall be construed to affect the right of any aggrieved person to apply to the civil side of the court for similar relief.

Sec. 46b-49. (Formerly Sec. 46-45). Private hearing.

When it considers it necessary in the interests of justice and the persons involved, the court shall, upon the motion of either party or of counsel for any minor children, direct the hearing of any matter under this chapter and sections 17b-743, 17b-744, 45a-257, 46b-1, 46b-6, 47-14g, 51-348a and 52-362 to be private. The court may exclude all persons except the officers of the court, a court reporter, the parties, their witnesses and their counsel.

Sec. 46b-50. (Formerly Sec. 46-46). Number of witnesses in uncontested action.

In any action under this chapter, where the complaint for dissolution of marriage or separation is uncontested, the judge in his sole discretion shall decide the number of witnesses required, if any, in addition to the plaintiff or defendant on a cross complaint, except as provided in subsection (a) of section 46b-51.

Sec. 46b-51. (Formerly Sec. 46-48). Stipulation of parties and finding of irretrievable breakdown.

(a) In any action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation the court shall make a finding that a marriage breakdown has occurred where (1) the parties, and not their attorneys, execute a written stipulation that their marriage has broken down irretrievably, or (2) both parties are physically present in court and stipulate that their marriage has broken down irretrievably and have submitted an agreement concerning the custody, care, education, visitation, maintenance or support of their children, if any, and concerning alimony and the disposition of property. The testimony of either party in support of that conclusion shall be sufficient.

(b) In any case in which the court finds, after hearing, that a cause enumerated in subsection (c) of section 46b-40 exists, the court shall enter a decree dissolving the marriage or granting a legal separation. In entering the decree, the court may either set forth the cause of action on which the decree is based or dissolve the marriage or grant a legal separation on the basis of irretrievable breakdown. In no case shall the decree granted be in favor of either party.

Sec. 46b-52. Recrimination and condonation abolished.

The defenses of recrimination and condonation to any action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation are abolished.

Sec. 46b-53. (Formerly Sec. 46-41). Conciliation procedures; privileged communications.

(a) On or after the return day of a complaint seeking the dissolution of a marriage or a legal separation and prior to the expiration of the ninety-day period specified in section 46b-67 either spouse or the counsel for any minor children of the marriage may submit a request for conciliation to the clerk of the court. The clerk shall forthwith enter an order that the parties meet with a conciliator mutually acceptable to them or, if the parties cannot agree as to a conciliator, with a conciliator named by the court. The conciliator shall, in any case, be a clergyman, a physician, a domestic relations officer or a person experienced in marriage counseling.

(b) Within such ninety-day period or within thirty days of the request, whichever is later, there shall be two mandatory consultations with the conciliator by each party to explore the possibility of reconciliation or of resolving the emotional problems which might lead to continuing conflicts following the dissolution of the marriage. Failure of the plaintiff or defendant to attend these consultations except for good cause shall preclude further action on the complaint until the expiration of six months from the date of the return day; provided the court may order the termination of such stay, upon the motion of either party and for good cause shown. Further consultations may be held with the consent of both parties, or, if the conciliator recommends one or more additional consultations and either one of the parties agrees, the court may order such additional consultations.

(c) All communications during these consultations shall be absolutely privileged, except that the conciliator shall report to the court whether or not the parties attended the consultations.

(d) The reasonable fees of the conciliator shall be paid by one or both of the parties as the court directs. No fee shall be charged by a domestic relations officer for such services. If the parties are unable to pay the fees which may be charged by the conciliator, only a domestic relations officer may be named as the conciliator.

Sec. 46b-53a. Mediation program for persons filing for dissolution of marriage. Privileged communications.

(a) A program of mediation services for persons filing for dissolution of marriage may be established in such judicial districts of the Superior Court as the Chief Court Administrator may designate. Mediation services shall address property, financial, child custody and visitation issues.

(b) All oral or written communications made by either party to the mediator or made between the parties in the presence of the mediator, while participating in the mediation program conducted pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, are privileged and inadmissible as evidence in any court proceedings unless the parties otherwise agree.

Sec. 46b-54. (Formerly Sec. 46-43). Counsel for minor children. Duties.

(a) The court may appoint counsel for any minor child or children of either or both parties at any time after the return day of a complaint under section 46b-45, if the court deems it to be in the best interests of the child or children. The court may appoint counsel on its own motion, or at the request of either of the parties or of the legal guardian of any child or at the request of any child who is of sufficient age and capable of making an intelligent request.

(b) Counsel for the child or children may also be appointed on the motion of the court or on the request of any person enumerated in subsection (a) of this section in any case before the court when the court finds that the custody, care, education, visitation or support of a minor child is in actual controversy, provided the court may make any order regarding a matter in controversy prior to the appointment of counsel where it finds immediate action necessary in the best interests of any child.

(c) Counsel for the child or children shall be heard on all matters pertaining to the interests of any child, including the custody, care, support, education and visitation of the child, so long as the court deems such representation to be in the best interests of the child.

Sec. 46b-55. (Formerly Sec. 46-63). Attorney General as party. Paternity establishment.

(a) The Attorney General shall be and remain a party to any action for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment, and to any proceedings after judgment in such action, if any party to the action, or any child of any party, is receiving or has received aid or care from the state. The Attorney General may also be a party to such action for the purpose of establishing, enforcing or modifying an order for support or alimony if any party to the action is receiving support enforcement services pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.

(b) If any child born during a marriage, which is terminated by a divorce decree or decree of dissolution of marriage, is found not to be issue of such marriage, the child or his representative may bring an action in the Superior Court to establish the paternity of the child within one year after the date of the judgment of divorce or decree of dissolution of the marriage of his natural mother, notwithstanding the provisions of section 46b-160.

Sec. 46b-56. (Formerly Sec. 46-42). Superior Court orders re custody, care, therapy, counseling and drug and alcohol screening of minor children or parents in actions for dissolution of marriage, legal separation and annulment. Access to records of minor children by noncustodial parent. Parenting education program.

(a) In any controversy before the Superior Court as to the custody or care of minor children, and at any time after the return day of any complaint under section 46b-45, the court may at any time make or modify any proper order regarding the education and support of the children and of care, custody and visitation if it has jurisdiction under the provisions of chapter 815p. Subject to the provisions of section 46b-56a, the court may assign the custody of any child to the parents jointly, to either parent or to a third party, according to its best judgment upon the facts of the case and subject to such conditions and limitations as it deems equitable. The court may also make any order granting the right of visitation of any child to a third party, including, but not limited to, grandparents.

(b) In making or modifying any order with respect to custody or visitation, the court shall (1) be guided by the best interests of the child, giving consideration to the wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capable of forming an intelligent preference, provided in making the initial order the court may take into consideration the causes for dissolution of the marriage or legal separation if such causes are relevant in a determination of the best interests of the child, and (2) consider whether the party satisfactorily completed participation in a parenting education program established pursuant to section 46b-69b. Upon the issuance of any order assigning custody of the child to the Commissioner of Children and Families, or not later than sixty days after the issuance of such order, the court shall make a determination whether the Department of Children and Families made reasonable efforts to keep the child with his or her parents prior to the issuance of such order and, if such efforts were not made, whether such reasonable efforts were not possible, taking into consideration the child's best interests, including the child's health and safety.

(c) In determining whether a child is in need of support and, if in need, the respective abilities of the parents to provide support, the court shall take into consideration all the factors enumerated in section 46b-84.

(d) When the court is not sitting, any judge of the court may make any order in the cause which the court might make under subsection (a) of this section, including orders of injunction, prior to any action in the cause by the court.

(e) A parent not granted custody of a minor child shall not be denied the right of access to the academic, medical, hospital or other health records of such minor child unless otherwise ordered by the court for good cause shown.

(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, when a motion for modification of custody or visitation is pending before the court or has been decided by the court and the investigation ordered by the court pursuant to section 46b-6 recommends psychiatric or psychological therapy for a child, and such therapy would, in the court's opinion, be in the best interests of the child and aid the child's response to a modification, the court may order such therapy and reserve judgment on the motion for modification.

(g) As part of a decision concerning custody or visitation, the court may order either parent or both of the parents and any child of such parents to participate in counseling and drug or alcohol screening, provided such participation is in the best interest of the child.

Sec. 46b-56a. Joint custody. Definition. Presumption. Conciliation.

(a) For the purposes of this section, "joint custody" means an order awarding legal custody of the minor child to both parents, providing for joint decision-making by the parents and providing that physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way as to assure the child of continuing contact with both parents. The court may award joint legal custody without awarding joint physical custody where the parents have agreed to merely joint legal custody.

(b) There shall be a presumption, affecting the burden of proof, that joint custody is in the best interests of a minor child where the parents have agreed to an award of joint custody or so agree in open court at a hearing for the purpose of determining the custody of the minor child or children of the marriage. If the court declines to enter an order awarding joint custody pursuant to this subsection, the court shall state in its decision the reasons for denial of an award of joint custody.

(c) If only one parent seeks an order of joint custody upon a motion duly made, the court may order both parties to submit to conciliation at their own expense with the costs of such conciliation to be borne by the parties as the court directs according to each party's ability to pay.

Sec. 46b-56b. Presumption re best interest of child to be in custody of parent.

In any dispute as to the custody of a minor child involving a parent and a nonparent, there shall be a presumption that it is in the best interest of the child to be in the custody of the parent, which presumption may be rebutted by showing that it would be detrimental to the child to permit the parent to have custody.

Sec. 46b-56c. Educational support orders.

(a) For purposes of this section, an educational support order is an order entered by a court requiring a parent to provide support for a child or children to attend for up to a total of four full academic years an institution of higher education or a private occupational school for the purpose of attaining a bachelor's or other undergraduate degree, or other appropriate vocational instruction. An educational support order may be entered with respect to any child who has not attained twenty-three years of age and shall terminate not later than the date on which the child attains twenty-three years of age.

(b)(1) On motion or petition of a parent, the court may enter an educational support order at the time of entry of a decree of dissolution, legal separation or annulment, and no educational support order may be entered thereafter unless the decree explicitly provides that a motion or petition for an educational support order may be filed by either parent at a subsequent date. If no educational support order is entered at the time of entry of a decree of dissolution, legal separation or annulment, and the parents have a child who has not attained twenty-three years of age, the court shall inform the parents that no educational support order may be entered thereafter. The court may accept a parent's waiver of the right to file a motion or petition for an educational support order upon a finding that the parent fully understands the consequences of such waiver.

(2) On motion or petition of a parent, the court may enter an educational support order at the time of entry of an order for support pendente lite pursuant to section 46b-83.

(3) On motion or petition of a parent, the court may enter an educational support order at the time of entering an order of support pursuant to section 46b-61 or 46b-171 or similar section of the general statutes, or at any time thereafter.

(4) On motion or petition of a parent, the court may enter an educational support order at the time of entering an order pursuant to any other provision of the general statutes authorizing the court to make an order of support for a child, subject to the provisions of sections 46b-212 to 46b-213v, inclusive.

(c) The court may not enter an educational support order pursuant to this section unless the court finds as a matter of fact that it is more likely than not that the parents would have provided support to the child for higher education or private occupational school if the family were intact. After making such finding, the court, in determining whether to enter an educational support order, shall consider all relevant circumstances, including: (1) The parents' income, assets and other obligations, including obligations to other dependents; (2) the child's need for support to attend an institution of higher education or private occupational school considering the child's assets and the child's ability to earn income; (3) the availability of financial aid from other sources, including grants and loans; (4) the reasonableness of the higher education to be funded considering the child's academic record and the financial resources available; (5) the child's preparation for, aptitude for and commitment to higher education; and (6) evidence, if any, of the institution of higher education or private occupational school the child would attend.

(d) At the appropriate time, both parents shall participate in, and agree upon, the decision as to which institution of higher education or private occupational school the child will attend. The court may make an order resolving the matter if the parents fail to reach an agreement.

(e) To qualify for payments due under an educational support order, the child must (1) enroll in an accredited institution of higher education or private occupational school, as defined in section 10a-22a, (2) actively pursue a course of study commensurate with the child's vocational goals that constitutes at least one-half the course load determined by that institution or school to constitute full-time enrollment, (3) maintain good academic standing in accordance with the rules of the institution or school, and (4) make available all academic records to both parents during the term of the order. The order shall be suspended after any academic period during which the child fails to comply with these conditions.

(f) The educational support order may include support for any necessary educational expense, including room, board, dues, tuition, fees, registration and application costs, but such expenses shall not be more than the amount charged by The University of Connecticut for a full-time in-state student at the time the child for whom educational support is being ordered matriculates, except this limit may be exceeded by agreement of the parents. An educational support order may also include the cost of books and medical insurance for such child.

(g) The court may direct that payments under an educational support order be made (1) to a parent to be forwarded to the institution of higher education or private occupational school, (2) directly to the institution or school, or (3) otherwise as the court determines to be appropriate.

(h) On motion or petition of a parent, an educational support order may be modified or enforced in the same manner as is provided by law for any support order.

(i) This section does not create a right of action by a child for parental support for higher education.

(j) An educational support order under this section does not include support for graduate or postgraduate education beyond a bachelor's degree.

(k) The provisions of this section shall apply only in cases when the initial order for parental support of the child is entered on or after October 1, 2002.

Sec. 46b-57. (Formerly Sec. 46-47). Third party intervention re custody of minor children. Preference of child.

In any controversy before the Superior Court as to the custody of minor children, and on any complaint under this chapter or section 46b-1 or 51-348a, if there is any minor child of either or both parties, the court, if it has jurisdiction under the provisions of chapter 815p, may allow any interested third party or parties to intervene upon motion. The court may award full or partial custody, care, education and visitation rights of such child to any such third party upon such conditions and limitations as it deems equitable. Before allowing any such intervention, the court may appoint counsel for the child or children pursuant to the provisions of section 46b-54. In making any order under this section, the court shall be guided by the best interests of the child, giving consideration to the wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capable of forming an intelligent preference.

Sec. 46b-58. (Formerly Sec. 46-58). Custody, maintenance and education of adopted children.

The authority of the Superior Court to make and enforce orders and decrees as to the custody, maintenance and education of minor children in any controversy before the court between husband and wife brought under the provisions of this chapter is extended to children adopted by both parties and to any natural child of one of the parties who has been adopted by the other.

Sec. 46b-59. Court may grant right of visitation to any person.

The Superior Court may grant the right of visitation with respect to any minor child or children to any person, upon an application of such person. Such order shall be according to the court's best judgment upon the facts of the case and subject to such conditions and limitations as it deems equitable, provided the grant of such visitation rights shall not be contingent upon any order of financial support by the court. In making, modifying or terminating such an order, the court shall be guided by the best interest of the child, giving consideration to the wishes of such child if he is of sufficient age and capable of forming an intelligent opinion. Visitation rights granted in accordance with this section shall not be deemed to have created parental rights in the person or persons to whom such visitation rights are granted. The grant of such visitation rights shall not prevent any court of competent jurisdiction from thereafter acting upon the custody of such child, the parental rights with respect to such child or the adoption of such child and any such court may include in its decree an order terminating such visitation rights.

Sec. 46b-59a. Mediation of disputes re enforcement of visitation rights.

The Office of the Chief Court Administrator may establish programs of mediation for the timely resolution of disputes involving the enforcement of visitation rights.

Sec. 46b-59b. Court may not grant visitation to parent convicted of murder. Exception.

Notwithstanding any provisions of this chapter, no court shall make an order granting the right of visitation to a parent who has been convicted of murder under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c or 53a-54d, or in any other jurisdiction, of any crime the essential elements of which are substantially the same as any of such crimes, unless the child who is the subject of the visitation order is of sufficient age to signify such child's wishes and such child assents to such order. Until any such visitation order is granted, no person shall visit, with the child present, such parent who has been convicted of murder without the consent of the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian.

Sec. 46b-60. (Formerly Sec. 46-55). Orders re children and alimony in annulment cases.

In connection with any petition for annulment under this chapter, the Superior Court may make such order regarding any child of the marriage and concerning alimony as it might make in an action for dissolution of marriage. The issue of any void or voidable marriage shall be deemed legitimate. Any child born before, on or after October 1, 1976, whose birth occurred prior to the marriage of his parents shall be deemed a child of the marriage.

Sec. 46b-61. (Formerly Sec. 46-62). Orders re children where parents live separately. Commencement of proceedings.

In all cases in which the parents of a minor child live separately, the superior court for the judicial district where the parties or one of them resides may, on the application of either party and after notice given to the other, make any order as to the custody, care, education, visitation and support of any minor child of the parties, subject to the provisions of sections 46b-54, 46b-56, 46b-57 and 46b-66. Proceedings to obtain such orders shall be commenced by service of an application, a summons and an order to show cause.

Sec. 46b-62. (Formerly Sec. 46-59). Orders for payment of attorney's fees in certain actions.

In any proceeding seeking relief under the provisions of this chapter and sections 17b-743, 17b-744, 45a-257, 46b-1, 46b-6, 46b-212 to 46b-213v, inclusive, 47-14g, 51-348a and 52-362, the court may order either spouse or, if such proceeding concerns the custody, care, education, visitation or support of a minor child, either parent to pay the reasonable attorney's fees of the other in accordance with their respective financial abilities and the criteria set forth in section 46b-82. If, in any proceeding under this chapter and said sections, the court appoints an attorney for a minor child, the court may order the father, mother or an intervening party, individually or in any combination, to pay the reasonable fees of the attorney or may order the payment of the attorney's fees in whole or in part from the estate of the child. If the child is receiving or has received state aid or care, the reasonable compensation of the attorney shall be established by, and paid from funds appropriated to, the Judicial Department.

Sec. 46b-63. (Formerly Sec. 46-60). Restoration of birth name or former name of spouse.

(a) At the time of entering a decree dissolving a marriage, the court, upon request of either spouse, shall restore the birth name or former name of such spouse.

(b) At any time after entering a decree dissolving a marriage, the court, upon motion of either spouse, shall modify such judgment and restore the birth name or former name of such spouse.

Sec. 46b-64. (Formerly Sec. 46-64c). Orders of court prior to return day of complaint.

Any provision in this chapter that the court may make any order after the return day of a complaint shall not preclude the court from making such order prior to the return day, upon the filing of a motion and the issuance of an order to show cause, if the court deems it necessary or appropriate.

Sec. 46b-65. (Formerly Sec. 46-61). Filing of declaration of resumption of marital relations; dissolution of marriage after legal separation decree when no declaration filed.

(a) If the parties to a decree of legal separation at any time resume marital relations and file their written declaration of resumption, signed, acknowledged and witnessed, with the clerk of the superior court for the judicial district in which the separation was decreed, the declaration shall be entered upon the docket, under the entries relating to the complaint, and the decree shall be vacated and the complaint shall be deemed dismissed.

(b) If no declaration has been filed under subsection (a) of this section, then at any time after the entry of a decree of legal separation, either party may petition the superior court for the judicial district in which the decree was entered for a decree dissolving the marriage and the court shall enter the decree in the presence of the party seeking the dissolution.

Sec. 46b-66. (Formerly Sec. 46-49). Review of agreements; incorporation into decree.

(a) 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.

(b) Agreements providing for the care, education, maintenance or support of a child beyond the age of eighteen entered into on or after July 1, 2001, shall be modifiable to the same extent as any other provision of any order or decree in accordance with section 46b-86.

Sec. 46b-66a. Order of court re conveyance of title to real property. Effect of decree.

(a) At the time of entering a decree annulling or dissolving a marriage or for legal separation pursuant to a complaint under section 46b-45, the Superior Court may order the husband or wife to convey title to real property to the other party or to a third person.

(b) When any party is found to have violated an order of the court entered under subsection (a) of this section, the court may, by decree, pass title to the real property to either party or to a third person, without any act by either party, when in the judgment of the court it is the proper action to take.

(c) When the decree is recorded on the land records in the town where the real property is situated, it shall effect the transfer of the title of such property as if it were a deed of the party or parties.

Sec. 46b-67. (Formerly Sec. 46-44). Waiting period. Effect of decree.

(a) Following the expiration of ninety days after the day on which a complaint for dissolution or legal separation is made returnable, or after the expiration of six months, where proceedings have been stayed under section 46b-53, the court may proceed on the complaint, or whenever dissolution is claimed under cross complaint, amended complaint or amended cross complaint, the case may be heard and a decree granted thereon after the expiration of the ninety days and twenty days after the cross complaint, amended complaint or amended cross complaint has been filed with the court, provided the requirement of the twenty-day delay shall not apply (1) whenever opposing counsel, having appeared, consents to the cross complaint, amended complaint or amended cross complaint, or (2) where the defendant has not appeared and the amendment does not set forth either a cause of action or a claim for relief not in the original complaint. Nothing in this section shall prevent any interlocutory proceedings within the ninety-day period.

(b) A decree of annulment or dissolution shall give the parties the status of unmarried persons and they may marry again. A decree of legal separation shall have the effect of a decree dissolving the marriage except that neither party shall be free to marry. Neither the ninety-day period specified in this section nor the six-month period referred to in section 46b-53 shall apply in actions for annulment and the court may proceed on any cause of action for annulment in the manner generally applicable in civil actions.

Sec. 46b-69b. Parenting education program.

(a) The Judicial Department shall establish a parenting education program for parties involved in any action before the Superior Court under section 46b-1, except actions brought under section 46b-15 and chapter 815t. For the purposes of this section, "parenting education program" means a course designed by the Judicial Department to educate persons, including unmarried parents, on the impact on children of the restructuring of families. The course shall include, but not be limited to, information on the developmental stages of children, adjustment of children to parental separation, dispute resolution and conflict management, guidelines for visitation, stress reduction in children and cooperative parenting.

(b) The court shall order any party to an action specified in subsection (a) of this section to participate in such program whenever a minor child is involved in such action unless (1) the parties agree, subject to the approval of the court, not to participate in such program, (2) the court, on motion, determines that participation is not deemed necessary, or (3) the parties select and participate in a comparable parenting education program. A family support magistrate may order parties involved in any action before the Family Support Magistrate Division to participate in such parenting education program, upon a finding that such participation is necessary and provided both parties are present when such order is issued. No party shall be required to participate in such program more than once. A party shall be deemed to have satisfactorily completed such program upon certification by the service provider of the program.

(c) The Judicial Department shall, by contract with service providers, make available the parenting education program and shall certify to the court the results of each party's participation in the program.

(d) Any person who is ordered to participate in a parenting education program shall pay directly to the service provider a participation fee, except that no person may be excluded from such program for inability to pay such fee. Any contract entered into between the Judicial Department and the service provider pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall include a fee schedule and provisions requiring service providers to allow persons who are indigent or unable to pay to participate in such program and shall provide that all costs of such program shall be covered by the revenue generated from participants' fees. The total cost for such program shall not exceed two hundred dollars per person. Such amount shall be indexed annually to reflect the rate of inflation. The program shall not exceed a total of ten hours.

(e) Any service provider under contract with the Judicial Department pursuant to this section shall provide safety and security for participants in the program, including victims of family violence.

Part Iii Support Of Child And Spouse. Transfer Of Property

Sec. 46b-80. (Formerly Sec. 46-38). Prejudgment remedies available; lis pendens; notice; effect.

(a) The following procedures shall be available to secure the financial interests of either spouse in connection with any complaint under section 46b-45 or 46b-56 or any application under section 46b-61, including, but not limited to, present and future financial interests in connection with an order for alimony or support pendente lite or other order for periodic payments: (1) Any remedy afforded by chapter 903a concerning prejudgment remedies, whether or not a money demand is made in such complaint or application; and (2) at any time after the service of such a complaint or application, if either party claims an interest in real property in which the other party has an interest, either spouse may cause a notice of lis pendens to be recorded in the office of the town clerk of each town in which is located real property in which the other spouse has an interest. The notice shall contain the names of the spouses, the nature of the complaint or application, the court having jurisdiction, the date of the complaint or application and a description of the real property. Such notice shall, from the time of the recording only, be notice to any person thereafter acquiring any interest in such property of the pendency of the complaint or application. Each person whose conveyance or encumbrance is subsequently executed or subsequently recorded or whose interest is thereafter obtained by descent, or otherwise, shall be deemed to be a subsequent purchaser or encumbrancer, and shall be bound by all proceedings taken after the recording of such notice, to the same extent as if he were made a party to the complaint or application. A notice of lis pendens recorded in accordance with this section may be discharged by the court upon substitution of a bond with surety in an amount established by the court if the court finds that the claim of the spouse against property subject to the notice of lis pendens can be satisfied by money damages.

(b) All notices of lis pendens recorded pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of section 52-325 and sections 52-325a to 52-325c, inclusive.

Sec. 46b-81. (Formerly Sec. 46-51). Assignment of property and transfer of title.

(a) At the time of entering a decree annulling or dissolving a marriage or for legal separation pursuant to a complaint under section 46b-45, the Superior Court may assign to either the husband or wife all or any part of the estate of the other. The court may pass title to real property to either party or to a third person or may order the sale of such real property, without any act by either the husband or the wife, when in the judgment of the court it is the proper mode to carry the decree into effect.

(b) A conveyance made pursuant to the decree shall vest title in the purchaser, and shall bind all persons entitled to life estates and remainder interests in the same manner as a sale ordered by the court pursuant to the provisions of section 52-500. When the decree is recorded on the land records in the town where the real property is situated, it shall effect the transfer of the title of such real property as if it were a deed of the party or parties.

(c) In fixing the nature and value of the property, if any, to be assigned, the court, after hearing the witnesses, if any, of each party, except as provided in subsection (a) of section 46b-51, shall consider the length of the marriage, the causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income. The court shall also consider the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates.

Sec. 46b-82. (Formerly Sec. 46-52). Alimony.

(a) At the time of entering the decree, the Superior Court may order either of the parties to pay alimony to the other, in addition to or in lieu of an award pursuant to section 46b-81. The order may direct that security be given therefor on such terms as the court may deem desirable, including an order pursuant to subsection (b) of this section or an order to either party to contract with a third party for periodic payments or payments contingent on a life to the other party. The court may order that a party obtain life insurance as such security unless such party proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that such insurance is not available to such party, such party is unable to pay the cost of such insurance or such party is uninsurable. In determining whether alimony shall be awarded, and the duration and amount of the award, the court shall hear the witnesses, if any, of each party, except as provided in subsection (a) of section 46b-51, shall consider the length of the marriage, the causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of each of the parties and the award, if any, which the court may make pursuant to section 46b-81, and, in the case of a parent to whom the custody of minor children has been awarded, the desirability of such parent's securing employment.

(b) Any postjudgment procedure afforded by chapter 906 shall be available to secure the present and future financial interests of a party in connection with a final order for the periodic payment of alimony.

Sec. 46b-83. (Formerly Sec. 46-50). Alimony, support and use of family home or other residential dwelling unit awarded pendente lite.

At any time after the return day of a complaint under section 46b-45 or 46b-56 or after filing an application under section 46b-61, and after hearing, alimony and support pendente lite may be awarded to either of the parties from the date of the filing of an application therefor with the Superior Court. Full credit shall be given for all sums paid to one party by the other from the date of the filing of such a motion to the date of rendition of such order. In making an order for alimony pendente lite the court shall consider all factors enumerated in section 46b-82, except the grounds for the complaint or cross complaint, to be considered with respect to a permanent award of alimony. In making an order for support pendente lite the court shall consider all factors enumerated in section 46b-84. The court may also award exclusive use of the family home or any other dwelling unit which is available for use as a residence pendente lite to either of the parties as is just and equitable without regard to the respective interests of the parties in the property.

Sec. 46b-84. (Formerly Sec. 46-57). Parents' obligation for maintenance of minor child. Order for health insurance coverage.

(a) Upon or subsequent to the annulment or dissolution of any marriage or the entry of a decree of legal separation or divorce, the parents of a minor child of the marriage, shall maintain the child according to their respective abilities, if the child is in need of maintenance. Any postjudgment procedure afforded by chapter 906 shall be available to secure the present and future financial interests of a party in connection with a final order for the periodic payment of child support.

(b) If there is an unmarried child of the marriage who has attained the age of eighteen, is a full-time high school student and resides with a parent, the parents shall maintain the child according to their respective abilities if the child is in need of maintenance until such time as such child completes the twelfth grade or attains the age of nineteen, whichever first occurs. The provisions of this subsection shall apply only in cases where the decree of dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment is entered on or after July 1, 1994.

(c) The court may make appropriate orders of support of any child with mental retardation, as defined in section 1-1g, or a mental disability or physical disability, as defined in subdivision (15) of section 46a-51, who resides with a parent and is principally dependent upon such parent for maintenance until such child attains the age of twenty-one. The child support guidelines established pursuant to section 46b-215a shall not apply to orders entered under this subsection. The provisions of this subsection shall apply only in cases where the decree of dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment is entered on or after October 1, 1997, or where the initial support orders in actions not claiming any such decree are entered on or after October 1, 1997.

(d) In determining whether a child is in need of maintenance and, if in need, the respective abilities of the parents to provide such maintenance and the amount thereof, the court shall consider the age, health, station, occupation, earning capacity, amount and sources of income, estate, vocational skills and employability of each of the parents, and the age, health, station, occupation, educational status and expectation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of the child.

(e) At any time at which orders are entered in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, annulment, legal separation, custody, or support, whether before, at the time of, or after entry of a decree or judgment, if health insurance coverage for a child is ordered by the court to be maintained, the court shall provide in the order that (1) the signature of the custodial parent or custodian of the insured dependent shall constitute a valid authorization to the insurer for purposes of processing an insurance reimbursement payment to the provider of the medical services, to the custodial parent or to the custodian, (2) neither parent shall prevent or interfere with the timely processing of any insurance reimbursement claim and (3) if the parent receiving an insurance reimbursement payment is not the parent or custodian who is paying the bill for the services of the medical provider, the parent receiving such insurance reimbursement payment shall promptly pay to the parent or custodian paying such bill any insurance reimbursement for such services. For purposes of subdivision (1), the custodial parent or custodian is responsible for providing the insurer with a certified copy of the order of dissolution or other order requiring maintenance of insurance for a child provided if such custodial parent or custodian fails to provide the insurer with a copy of such order, the Commissioner of Social Services may provide the insurer with a copy of such order. Such insurer may thereafter rely on such order and is not responsible for inquiring as to the legal sufficiency of the order. The custodial parent or custodian shall be responsible for providing the insurer with a certified copy of any order which materially alters the provision of the original order with respect to the maintenance of insurance for a child. If presented with an insurance reimbursement claim signed by the custodial parent or custodian, such insurer shall reimburse the provider of the medical services, if payment is to be made to such provider under the policy, or shall otherwise reimburse the custodial parent or custodian.

(f) After the granting of a decree annulling or dissolving the marriage or ordering a legal separation, and upon complaint or motion with order and summons made to the Superior Court by either parent or by the Commissioner of Administrative Services in any case arising under subsection (a) or (b) of this section, the court shall inquire into the child's need of maintenance and the respective abilities of the parents to supply maintenance. The court shall make and enforce the decree for the maintenance of the child as it considers just, and may direct security to be given therefor, including an order to either party to contract with a third party for periodic payments or payments contingent on a life to the other party. The court may order that a party obtain life insurance as such security unless such party proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that such insurance is not available to such party, such party is unable to pay the cost of such insurance or such party is uninsurable. The court shall include in each support order a provision for the health care coverage of the child which provision may include an order for either parent to name any child who is subject to the provisions of subsection (a) or (b) of this section as a beneficiary of any medical or dental insurance or benefit plan carried by such parent or available to such parent on a group basis through an employer or a union. Any such employment-based order in a IV-D support case shall be enforced using a National Medical Support Notice as provided in section 46b-88. If such insurance coverage is unavailable at reasonable cost, the provision for health care coverage may include an order for either parent to apply for and maintain coverage on behalf of the child under the HUSKY Plan, Part B. The noncustodial parent shall be ordered to apply for the HUSKY Plan, Part B only if such parent is found to have sufficient ability to pay the appropriate premium. In any IV-D support case in which the noncustodial parent is found to have insufficient ability to provide medical insurance coverage and the custodial party is the HUSKY Plan, Part A or Part B applicant, the provision for health care coverage may include an order for the noncustodial parent to pay such amount as is specified by the court or family support magistrate to the state or the custodial party, as their interests may appear, to offset the cost of any insurance payable under the HUSKY Plan, Part A or Part B. In no event may such order include payment to offset the cost of any such premium if such payment would reduce the amount of current support required under the child support guidelines.

(g) Whenever an obligor is before the court in proceedings to establish, modify or enforce a support order, and such order is not secured by an income withholding order, the court may require the obligor to execute a bond or post other security sufficient to perform such order for support, provided the court finds that such a bond is available for purchase within the financial means of the obligor. Upon failure of such obligor to comply with such support order, the court may order the bond or the security forfeited and the proceeds thereof paid to the state in TANF cases or to the obligee in non-TANF cases. In any IV-D case in which the obligor is found by the court to owe past-due support, the court may issue an order for the periodic payment of such support or, if such obligor is not incapacitated, order such obligor to participate in work activities which may include, but shall not be limited to, job search, training, work experience and participation in the job training and retraining program established by the Labor Commissioner pursuant to section 31-3t.

(h) In IV-D support cases, as defined in subdivision (13) of subsection (b) of section 46b-231, a copy of any support order established or modified pursuant to this section or, in the case of a motion for modification of an existing support order, a notice of determination that there should be no change in the amount of the support order, shall be provided to each party and the state case registry within fourteen days after issuance of such order or determination.

Sec. 46b-85. (Formerly Sec. 46-53). Order for support of mentally ill spouse.

At the time of granting dissolution of a marriage to which one party is mentally ill or at any time thereafter, on application of either party or of the guardian or conservator of the mentally ill spouse, or of any person, town or other municipality charged with the support of the mentally ill spouse, or the Commissioner of Administrative Services if the state is charged, the court may make such order requiring support of the mentally ill spouse, or security for support, as may be proper. The court may set aside or alter any such order, at any time thereafter, on application of either party or of the guardian of the mentally ill spouse, or of any person, town or other municipality charged with support, or the Commissioner of Administrative Services if the state is charged. Any order providing for the support of the mentally ill party shall be enforceable in the same manner as orders relating to alimony.

Sec. 46b-86. (Formerly Sec. 46-54). Modification of alimony or support orders and judgments.

(a) Unless and to the extent that the decree precludes modification, the court may order either party to maintain life insurance for the other party or a minor child of the parties or any final order for the periodic payment of permanent alimony or support or an order for alimony or support pendente lite may at any time thereafter be continued, set aside, altered or modified by said court upon a showing of a substantial change in the circumstances of either party or upon a showing that the final order for child support substantially deviates from the child support guidelines established pursuant to section 46b-215a, unless there was a specific finding on the record that the application of the guidelines would be inequitable or inappropriate. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that any deviation of less than fifteen per cent from the child support guidelines is not substantial and any deviation of fifteen per cent or more from the guidelines is substantial. Modification may be made of such support order without regard to whether the order was issued before, on or after May 9, 1991. In determining whether to modify a child support order based on a substantial deviation from such child support guidelines the court shall consider the division of real and personal property between the parties set forth in the final decree and the benefits accruing to the child as the result of such division. After the date of judgment, modification of any child support order issued before or after July 1, 1990, may be made upon a showing of such substantial change of circumstances, whether or not such change of circumstances was contemplated at the time of dissolution. By written agreement, stipulation or by decision of the court, those items or circumstances that were contemplated and are not to be changed may be specified in the written agreement, stipulation or decision of the court. This section shall not apply to assignments under section 46b-81 or to any assignment of the estate or a portion thereof of one party to the other party under prior law. No order for periodic payment of permanent alimony or support may be subject to retroactive modification, except that the court may order modification with respect to any period during which there is a pending motion for modification of an alimony or support order from the date of service of notice of such pending motion upon the opposing party pursuant to section 52-50.

(b) In an action for divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment brought by a husband or wife, in which a final judgment has been entered providing for the payment of periodic alimony by one party to the other, the Superior Court may, in its discretion and upon notice and hearing, modify such judgment and suspend, reduce or terminate the payment of periodic alimony upon a showing that the party receiving the periodic alimony is living with another person under circumstances which the court finds should result in the modification, suspension, reduction or termination of alimony because the living arrangements cause such a change of circumstances as to alter the financial needs of that party.

(c) When one of the parties, or a child of the parties, is receiving or has received aid or care from the state under its aid to families with dependent children program or temporary assistance for needy families program or under its foster care program as provided in Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, or where one of the parties has applied for child support enforcement services under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act as provided in section 17b-179, such motion to modify shall be filed with the Family Support Magistrate Division for determination in accordance with subsection (m) of section 46b-231.

Sec. 46b-87. (Formerly Sec. 46-56). Contempt of orders.

When any person is found in contempt of an order of the Superior Court entered under section 46b-60 to 46b-62, inclusive, 46b-81 to 46b-83, inclusive, or 46b-86, the court may award to the petitioner a reasonable attorney's fee and the fees of the officer serving the contempt citation, such sums to be paid by the person found in contempt, provided if any such person is found not to be in contempt of such order, the court may award a reasonable attorney's fee to such person. The costs of commitment of any person imprisoned for contempt of court by reason of failure to comply with such an order shall be paid by the state as in criminal cases.

Chapter 816 Support

Sec. 46b-215. (Formerly Sec. 17-320). Relatives obliged to furnish support, when. Orders.

(a)(1) The Superior Court or a family support magistrate shall have authority to make and enforce orders for payment of support against any person who neglects or refuses to furnish necessary support to such person's spouse or a child under the age of eighteen or as otherwise provided in this subsection, according to such person's ability to furnish such support, notwithstanding the provisions of section 46b-37. If such child is unmarried, a full-time high school student and residing with the custodial parent, such support shall continue according to the parents' respective abilities, if such child is in need of support, until such child completes the twelfth grade or attains the age of nineteen, whichever first occurs.

(2) Any such support order in a IV-D support case shall include a provision for the health care coverage of the child which provision may include an order for either parent to name any child as a beneficiary of any medical or dental insurance or benefit plan carried by such parent or available to such parent on a group basis through an employer or a union. Any such employment-based order shall be enforced using a National Medical Support Notice as provided in section 46b-88. If such insurance coverage is unavailable at reasonable cost, the provision for health care coverage may include an order for either parent to apply for and maintain coverage on behalf of the child under the HUSKY Plan, Part B. The noncustodial parent shall be ordered to apply for the HUSKY Plan, Part B only if such parent is found to have sufficient ability to pay the appropriate premium. In any IV-D support case in which the noncustodial parent is found to have insufficient ability to provide medical insurance coverage and the custodial party is the HUSKY Plan, Part A or Part B applicant, the provision for health care coverage may include an order for the noncustodial parent to pay such amount as is specified by the court or family support magistrate to the state or the custodial party, as their interests may appear, to offset the cost of any insurance payable under the HUSKY Plan, Part A or Part B. In no event may such order include payment to offset the cost of any such premium if such payment would reduce the amount of current support required under the child support guidelines.

(3) Proceedings to obtain orders of support under this section shall be commenced by the service on the liable person or persons of a verified petition with summons and order, in a form prescribed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, of the husband or wife, child or any relative or the conservator, guardian or support enforcement officer, town or state, or any selectmen or the public official charged with the administration of public assistance of the town, or in TANF support cases, as defined in subdivision (14) of subsection (b) of section 46b-231, the Commissioner of Social Services. The verified petition, summons and order shall be filed in the judicial district in which the petitioner or respondent resides or does business, or if filed in the Family Support Magistrate Division, in the judicial district in which the petitioner or respondent resides or does business.

(4) For purposes of this section, the term "child" shall include one born out of wedlock whose father has acknowledged in writing paternity of such child or has been adjudged the father by a court of competent jurisdiction, or a child who was born before marriage whose parents afterwards intermarry.

(5) Said court or family support magistrate shall also have authority to make and enforce orders directed to the conservator or guardian of any person, or payee of Social Security or other benefits to which such person is entitled, to the extent of the income or estate held by such fiduciary or payee in any such capacity.

(6) Said court or family support magistrate shall also have authority to determine, order and enforce payment of any sums due under a written agreement to support against the person liable for such support under such agreement.

(7)(A) Said court or family support magistrate shall also have authority to determine, order and enforce payment of any support due because of neglect or refusal to furnish support prior to the action.

(B) In the determination of support due based on neglect or refusal to furnish support prior to the action, the support due for periods of time prior to the action shall be based upon the obligor's ability to pay during such prior periods, as determined in accordance with the child support and arrearage guidelines established under section 46b-215a. The state shall disclose to the court any information in its possession concerning current and past ability to pay. If no information is available to the court concerning past ability to pay, the court may determine the support due for periods of time prior to the action as if past ability to pay is equal to current ability to pay, if current ability is known. If current ability to pay is not known, the court shall determine the past ability to pay based on the obligor's work history, if known, or if not known, on the state minimum wage that was in effect during such periods, provided only actual earnings shall be used to determine ability to pay for past periods during which the obligor was a full-time high school student or was incarcerated, institutionalized or incapacitated.

(C) Any finding of support due for periods of time prior to an action in which the obligor failed to appear shall be entered subject to adjustment. Such adjustment may be made upon motion of any party, and the state in IV-D cases shall make such motion if it obtains information that would have substantially affected the court's determination of past ability to pay if such information had been available to the court. Motion for adjustment under this subparagraph may be made not later than twelve months date from the date upon which the obligor receives notification of (i) the amount of such finding of support due for periods of time prior to the action, and (ii) the right not later than twelve months from the date of receipt of such notification to present evidence as to such obligor's past ability to pay support for such periods of time prior to the action. A copy of any support order entered, subject to adjustment, shall state in plain language the basis for the court's determination of past support, the right to request an adjustment and to present information concerning the obligor's past ability to pay, and the consequences of a failure to request such adjustment.

(8)(A) The judge or family support magistrate shall cause a summons, signed by such judge or magistrate, by the clerk of said court or Family Support Magistrate Division, or by a commissioner of the Superior Court to be issued requiring such liable person or persons to appear in court or before a family support magistrate, at a time and place as determined by the clerk but not more than ninety days after the issuance of the summons. Service may be made by a state marshal, any proper officer or any investigator employed by the Department of Social Services or by the Commissioner of Administrative Services. The state marshal, proper officer or investigator shall make due return of process to the court not less than twenty-one days before the date assigned for hearing. Upon proof of the service of the summons to appear in court or before a family support magistrate at the time and place named for hearing upon such petition, the failure of the defendant or defendants to appear shall not prohibit the court or family support magistrate from going forward with the hearing. If the summons and order is signed by a commissioner of the Superior Court, upon proof of service of the summons to appear in court or before a family support magistrate and upon the failure of the defendant to appear at the time and place named for hearing upon the petition, request may be made by the petitioner to the court or family support magistrate for an order that a capias mittimus be issued.

(B) In the case of a person supported wholly or in part by a town, the welfare authority of the town shall notify the responsible relatives of such person of the amount of assistance given, the beginning date thereof and the amount of support expected from each of them, if any, and if any such relative does not contribute in such expected amount, the superior court for the judicial district in which such town is located or a family support magistrate sitting in the judicial district in which such town is located may order such relative or relatives to contribute to such support, from the time of the beginning date of expense shown on the notice, such sum as said court or family support magistrate deems reasonably within each such relative's ability to support such person.

(C) The court, or any judge thereof, or family support magistrate when said court or family support magistrate is not sitting, may require the defendant or defendants to become bound, with sufficient surety, to the state, town or person bringing the complaint, to abide such judgment as may be rendered on such complaint. Failure of the defendant or defendants to obey any order made under this section, may be punished as contempt of court and the costs of commitment of any person imprisoned therefor shall be paid by the state as in criminal cases. Except as otherwise provided, upon proof of the service of the summons to appear in court or before a family support magistrate at the time and place named for a hearing upon the failure of the defendant or defendants to obey such court order or order of the family support magistrate, the court or family support magistrate may order a capias mittimus be issued, and directed to some proper officer to arrest such defendant or defendants and bring such defendant or defendants before the Superior Court for the contempt hearing. When any person is found in contempt under this section, the court or family support magistrate may award to the petitioner a reasonable attorney's fee and the fees of the officer serving the contempt citation, such sums to be paid by the person found in contempt.

(9) In addition to or in lieu of such contempt proceedings, the court or family support magistrate, upon a finding that any person has failed to obey any order made under this section, may: (A) Order a plan for payment of any past-due support owing under such order, or, in IV-D cases, if such obligor is not incapacitated, order such obligor to participate in work activities which may include, but shall not be limited to, job search, training, work experience and participation in the job training and retraining program established by the Labor Commissioner pursuant to section 31-3t; (B) suspend any professional, occupational, recreational, commercial driver's or motor vehicle operator's license as provided in subsections (b) to (e), inclusive, of section 46b-220, provided such failure was without good cause; (C) issue an income withholding order against such amount of any debt accruing by reason of personal services as provided by sections 52-362, 52-362b and 52-362c; and (D) order executions against any real, personal, or other property of such person which cannot be categorized solely as either, for payment of accrued and unpaid amounts due under such order.

(10) No entry fee, judgment fee or any other court fee shall be charged by the court or the family support magistrate to either party in proceedings under this section.

(11) Any written agreement to support which is filed with the court or the Family Support Magistrate Division shall have the effect of an order of the court or a family support magistrate.

(b) The Attorney General of the state of Connecticut and the attorney representing a town, shall become a party for the interest of the state of Connecticut and such town, in any proceedings for support which concerns any person who is receiving or has received public assistance or care from the state or any town. The Attorney General shall represent the IV-D agency in non-TANF IV-D support cases if the IV-D agency determines that such representation is required pursuant to guidelines issued by the Commissioner of Social Services.

(c) The court or a family support magistrate shall direct all payments on orders of support in IV-D cases to be made to the state acting by and through the IV-D agency.

(d) No order for support made by the court or a family support magistrate shall be stayed by an appeal but such order shall continue in effect until a determination is made thereon upon such appeal; if however as a result of such appeal or further hearing, the amount of such order is reduced or vacated, such defendant shall be credited or reimbursed accordingly.

(e) Any court or family support magistrate, called upon to enforce a support order, shall insure that such order is reasonable in light of the obligor's ability to pay. Any support order entered pursuant to this section, or any support order from another jurisdiction subject to enforcement by the state of Connecticut, may be modified by motion of the party seeking such modification upon a showing of a substantial change in the circumstances of either party or upon a showing that such support order substantially deviates from the child support guidelines established pursuant to section 46b-215a, unless there was a specific finding on the record that the application of the guidelines would be inequitable or inappropriate, provided the court or family support magistrate finds that the obligor or the obligee and any other interested party have received actual notice of the pendency of such motion and of the time and place of the hearing on such motion. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that any deviation of less than fifteen per cent from the child support guidelines is not substantial and any deviation of fifteen per cent or more from the guidelines is substantial. Modification may be made of such support order without regard to whether the order was issued before, on or after May 9, 1991. No such support orders may be subject to retroactive modification, except that the court or family support magistrate may order modification with respect to any period during which there is a pending motion for a modification of an existing support order from the date of service of the notice of such pending motion upon the opposing party pursuant to section 52-50. In any hearing to modify any support order from another jurisdiction the court or the family support magistrate shall conduct the proceedings in accordance with the procedure set forth in sections 46b-213o to 46b-213q, inclusive.

(f) In IV-D support cases, as defined in subdivision (13) of subsection (b) of section 46b-231, a copy of any support order established or modified pursuant to this section or, in the case of a motion for modification of an existing support order, a notice of determination that there should be no change in the amount of the support order, shall be provided to each party and the state case registry within fourteen days after issuance of such order or determination.

Sec. 46b-215b. Guidelines to be used in determination of amount of support and payment on arrearages and past due support.

(a) The child support and arrearage guidelines promulgated pursuant to section 8 of public act 85-548[fn*] and any updated guidelines issued pursuant to section 46b-215a shall be considered in all determinations of child support amounts and payment on arrearages and past due support within the state. In all such determinations, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the amount of such awards which resulted from the application of such guidelines is the amount of support or payment on any arrearage or past due support to be ordered. A specific finding on the record that the application of the guidelines would be inequitable or inappropriate in a particular case, as determined under criteria established by the Commission for Child Support Guidelines under section 46b-215a, shall be required in order to rebut the presumption in such case.

(b) In any determination pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, when a party has been determined by the Social Security Administration, or a state agency authorized to award disability benefits, to qualify for disability benefits under the federal Supplemental Security Income Program, the Social Security disability program, the state supplement to the federal Supplemental Security Income Program, or the state-administered general assistance program, parental earning capacity shall not be a basis for deviating from the presumptive support amount that results from the application of the child support guidelines to such party's income.

(c) In any proceeding for the establishment or modification of a child support award, the child support guidelines shall be considered in addition to and not in lieu of the criteria for such awards established in sections 46b-84, 46b-86, 46b-130, 46b-171, 46b-172, 46b-215, 17b-179 and 17b-745.

Sec. 46b-215d. Certain earnings not considered income for purposes of guidelines.

Notwithstanding the child support guidelines established pursuant to section 46b-215a, in cases in which an obligor is an hourly wage earner and has worked less than forty-five hours per week at the time of the establishment of the support order, any additional income earned from working more than forty-five hours per week shall not be considered income for purposes of such guidelines.

Sec. 46b-215e. Initial or modified support order where child support obligor is institutionalized or incarcerated.

Notwithstanding any provisions of the general statutes, whenever a child support obligor is institutionalized or incarcerated, the Superior Court or a family support magistrate shall establish an initial order for current support, or modify an existing order for current support, upon proper motion, based upon the obligor's present income in accordance with the child support guidelines established pursuant to section 46b-215a.

Sec. 46b-215b. Guidelines to be used in determination of amount of support and payment on arrearages and past due support.

(a) The child support and arrearage guidelines promulgated pursuant to section 8 of public act 85-548 and any updated guidelines issued pursuant to section 46b-215a shall be considered in all determinations of child support amounts and payment on arrearages and past due support within the state. In all such determinations, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the amount of such awards which resulted from the application of such guidelines is the amount of support or payment on any arrearage or past due support to be ordered. A specific finding on the record that the application of the guidelines would be inequitable or inappropriate in a particular case, as determined under criteria established by the Commission for Child Support Guidelines under section 46b-215a, shall be required in order to rebut the presumption in such case.

(b) In any determination pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, when a party has been determined by the Social Security Administration, or a state agency authorized to award disability benefits, to qualify for disability benefits under the federal Supplemental Security Income Program, the Social Security disability program, the state supplement to the federal Supplemental Security Income Program, or the state-administered general assistance program, parental earning capacity shall not be a basis for deviating from the presumptive support amount that results from the application of the child support guidelines to such party's income.

(c) In any proceeding for the establishment or modification of a child support award, the child support guidelines shall be considered in addition to and not in lieu of the criteria for such awards established in sections 46b-84, 46b-86, 46b-130, 46b-171, 46b-172, 46b-215, 17b-179 and 17b-745.

Sec. 46b-216. (Formerly Sec. 17-321). Support of surviving husband or wife by heirs.

The estate of any person dying without issue, leaving a husband or wife surviving, shall be liable for the support of such surviving spouse until remarriage if such survivor becomes poor and there is no person or persons of sufficient ability, under the provisions of section 46b-215, to provide such support. Each person to whom any such estate is given or descends shall, to an amount equal to the estate so received by him, be liable to contribute to such support, and, if he neglects to provide such support, and sufficient support cannot be obtained from any of the persons liable under the provisions of said section 46b-215, such survivor, the Commissioner of Social Services, the selectmen of the town in which such survivor resides, or any person liable under the provisions of said section 46b-215, to contribute to such support but unable to wholly furnish the same, or any person other than the defendant or defendants, liable under this section to contribute to such support, may bring a complaint to the superior court for the judicial district in which such survivor resides, against all or any of the persons, except the plaintiff, to whom any of such estate has been given or has descended. Said court may order the defendant or defendants to contribute to such support from the time of serving such complaint such sum, not exceeding the value of the property received by such defendant or defendants from the estate of such deceased, as may be reasonable and necessary, and may issue execution monthly or quarterly for the same, which, when collected, shall be paid to such survivor, said commissioner or such selectmen, for such support, as the court orders. When such complaint is brought by the survivor, commissioner or selectmen, the court, or any judge thereof when said court is not sitting, may require the defendant or defendants to become bound with sufficient surety to such survivor, the state or town to abide the judgment rendered on such complaint.

Sec. 46b-217. (Formerly Sec. 17-322). Relief from support.

Any defendant in an action brought under either section 46b-215 or 46b-216 may, at any time thereafter, prefer his complaint to said court against such survivor, the Commissioner of Social Services, selectmen or other persons, plaintiffs in such action, to be relieved from such contribution. In any action brought under said section 46b-215, the defendant in a IV-D support case as defined in subsection (b) of section 46b-231 may prefer his complaint to the family support magistrate serving the judicial district where the order was entered against the plaintiff in such action to be relieved from such contribution. If said court or family support magistrate finds that he, being liable under said section 46b-215, is required to contribute an amount beyond his ability or beyond what is requisite for such support, or that he, being liable under said section 46b-216, is required to contribute beyond the amount received by him from the estate of such deceased or beyond what is requisite for such support, it may again direct how much, if anything, he shall contribute therefor. If the contribution of the person or persons liable to support such poor person, as fixed by the court, is insufficient for such support, the remainder of such support shall be furnished by the state or such town.

Sec. 46b-219. (Formerly Sec. 17-326). No liability for support of deserting parent.

No person shall be liable under any provision of the general statutes for the support of a parent who willfully deserted such person continuously during the ten-year period prior to such person reaching his majority. For the purposes of this section, willful desertion means total neglect of parental responsibility in failing to provide reasonable support and care within the financial capability of the parent. Any person claiming the provisions of this section as a defense shall have the burden of proof of such willful desertion.

Sec. 46b-220. Suspension of license of delinquent child support obligor. Conditions. Reinstatement.

(a) For the purposes of this section:

(1) "Delinquent child support obligor" means an obligor who (A) owes overdue support, accruing after the entry of a court order, in an amount which exceeds ninety days of periodic payments on a current support or arrearage payment order, (B) has failed to make court ordered medical or dental insurance coverage available within ninety days of the issuance of a court order or fails to maintain such coverage pursuant to court order for a period of ninety days, or (C) has failed, after receiving appropriate notice, to comply with subpoenas or warrants relating to paternity or child support proceedings;

(2) "License" means each license, certification or permit to engage in a profession or occupation regulated pursuant to the provisions of title 19a, 20 or 21, a motor vehicle operator's license or a commercial driver's license issued by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles in accordance with chapter 246, and licenses and permits issued by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to part III of chapter 490;

(3) "Licensing authority" means any board, commission, department or official with authority to issue a license;

(4) "Obligor" means any person owing a duty of child support;

(5) "Obligee" means the person or entity to whom child support payments are owed;

(6) "Past-due support" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 52-362j; and

(7) "Overdue support" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 52-362j.

(b) The Superior Court and any family support magistrate may issue a suspension order, which suspends the license of a delinquent child support obligor, to enforce a child support order. Such suspension order shall specify the conditions which must be met to avoid license suspension and shall be effective only on the filing of an affidavit, sufficient under subsection (c) of this section as to the obligor's delinquency. Such order shall also specify the conditions of reinstatement of any such suspended license in the event of suspension by the court or family support magistrate. In IV-D cases the order shall specify that the Department of Social Services shall notify the licensing authority of the suspension order and of compliance with or rescission of such order. In non-IV-D cases, the order shall specify the procedure for notification of the licensing authority of the suspension order and of compliance with or rescission of such order and the person required to provide such notification. No judge or family support magistrate may issue a suspension order unless he finds (1) the obligor has received actual notice of the proceeding and that a motor vehicle operator's license or professional, occupational or recreational license which he holds may be suspended, (2) the noncompliance with his child support obligations was wilful and without good cause, (3) the suspension order is fair and equitable, (4) the obligor has sufficient financial resources to comply with the conditions specified in the suspension order. A copy of any suspension order issued against a nonappearing obligor shall be sent to the obligor by first class mail, postage prepaid by the Department of Social Services, or, in any non-IV-D case, any person specified in the suspension order.

(c) If the obligor fails to comply with the conditions of a suspension order within thirty days of the issuance of such order, the Department of Social Services, a support enforcement officer, the attorney for the obligee or the obligee, as provided in the suspension order, shall file with the court or assistant clerk of the Family Support Magistrate Division, an affidavit stating that the conditions of the suspension order have not been met, and provide the obligor with a copy of such affidavit. Such affidavit shall be filed within forty-five days of the expiration of such thirty-day period. Such suspension order shall be effective upon the filing of such affidavit.

(d) If (1) the obligor satisfies the conditions of the suspension order within thirty days of the issuance of such suspension order or (2) the affidavit is not filed within forty-five days of the expiration of such thirty-day period, such order shall be null and void and shall have no further effect.

(e) Upon receipt of an effective court order directing suspension of a license, the Department of Social Services or, in any non-IV-D case, any person specified in such order shall provide the licensing authority with a copy of the suspension order and affidavit. The licensing authority shall, upon receipt of such order and affidavit, suspend such license. Upon the obligor's compliance with the conditions of the license suspension order concerning reinstatement, or upon any subsequent order of the court or family support magistrate to rescind such license suspension, the licensing authority shall immediately reinstate such license. No licensing authority may charge a fee for the reinstatement of any such license which exceeds the actual administrative cost of such reinstatement.

Sec. 46b-221. Notice to delinquent child support obligors by Commissioner of Social Services re availability of remedy of license suspension.

The Commissioner of Social Services may provide notice to all IV-D delinquent child support obligors of the availability of the remedy of suspension of motor vehicle operator's licenses and professional, occupational and recreational licenses pursuant to section 46b-220. Such notice shall comply with the provisions of section 52-362g.

Sec. 46b-224. Effect of court order changing or transferring guardianship or custody of child on preexisting support order.

Whenever the Probate Court, in a guardianship matter under chapter 802h, or the Superior Court, in a juvenile matter under chapter 815t, orders a change or transfer of the guardianship or custody of a child who is the subject of a preexisting support order, and the court makes no finding with respect to such support order, such guardianship or custody order shall operate to: (1) Suspend the support order if guardianship or custody is transferred to the obligor under the support order; or (2) modify the payee of the support order to be the person or entity awarded guardianship or custody of the child by the court, if such person or entity is other than the obligor under the support order.