These instructions are to help you represent yourself in a divorce. Legal words
and court documents can be confusing. The more you know, the more comfortable
you will be when you fill out the necessary court forms and come to court. These
instructions will give you some useful information and instructions on filling
out the necessary forms.
Every case is different and this instruction sheet is to be used as
a guide only; if you think you need more help you may want to get an attorney.
You can also go to a
Court Service Center or contact the
Connecticut Network for Legal Aidor
find additional information at the Law Libraries.
Court staff can answer procedural questions and help you understand the legal
process, but cannot give you legal advice.
You are the defendant in a divorce
if a copy of the court forms called a Summons, Complaint and Notice of Automatic
Orders have been delivered to you (or served on you). A state marshal may hand
them to you or leave them at your home. It is important that you read all the
After you get a copy of the court
papers, you may contact an attorney to represent you or follow the steps below
if you want to represent yourself. Even if you agree with what your spouse says
in the complaint, you can take part in your case. If you do nothing, the judge
may order what your spouse asks for in the Complaint.
The following forms can be filed
when responding to a divorce:
By filing an
you are telling the court that you are acting as your own attorney and giving
the court your mailing address. It is best to file an Appearance as early
as possible. Once you file an Appearance you will receive all court notices and
papers filed about your case.
will tell the court if you agree or disagree with each numbered statement in the
Complaint. There is no court fee to
file an Answer.
Complaint lets the court know what you want. It also allows the divorce to
continue even if your spouse decides to stop or withdraw the case.
There is a court fee to file a cross complaint.
If you have children under the age
of 18 (eighteen), you must participate in a parenting education program within
60 (sixty) days after a family case is filed. There is a fee for the
classes that you will have to pay unless the court has decided that you do not
have to. There is a form to ask the court to let you not pay the fee. It is the
Application For Waiver Of
Fees/ Appointment Of Counsel Family (JD-FM-75).
You will need the following
forms to take part in the class:
Once your forms are filled out,
give them to, or file them with the court clerk. Be sure to make a copy for
yourself and send a copy to the plaintiff.
Please note that if you decide to
take part in the divorce process that you will have to fill out other forms for
the final hearing.