It is no secret that Covid-19 impacted how the Connecticut Family Court operated. The tremendous backlog of cases created at the height of the pandemic caused hearings to be delayed by four months or more. For families who were waiting for the court to issue temporary orders for financial support, the added delay was untenable.
To address this, the family court implemented (although not formally approved through the rules committee as of yet and not a part of the Practice Book) a new “Pathways” program which replaced Short Calendar in how motions are handled during a divorce. Pathways has had significant impacts on how and when individuals may get access to the courts. In many cases, some combination of the changing system and the backlog of cases has resulted in substantial delays in access to justice during divorce cases, and a sea change in how and when the courts may be accessed.
In reaction to these changes, the Connecticut General Assembly passed Public Act 23-7 (An Act Ensuring Timely Scheduling of Temporary Financial Support Hearings in Divorce and Custody Proceedings.), effective January 1, 2024, which set a maximum time limit of 60 days from when a motion for temporary alimony or support is filed to when the court must hold a hearing (although the law permits continuances with certain conditions attached). That law is now effective as part of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-83.
While many divorce and custody issues are indeed universal, every family’s situation truly is unique. In an ideal world, most divorcing couples could agree on the terms of any temporary support and their final settlement without needing to go to court. We pride ourselves on our depth of litigation experience, but staying ahead of potential problems and addressing them amicably is an important part of our commitment to doing all that we reasonably can to help our clients emerge positively from the divorce process.