Connecticut courts recently transitioned to a new process for managing divorces and other family cases. Named “Pathways,” the process is intended to reduce the number of court appearances by parties and their attorneys by creating a schedule at early points in each case.

Before Pathways was implemented, divorce cases were handled on what was known as a short calendar. Motions would be heard within about two to three weeks after being filed. This meant multiple court appearances. By contrast, the Pathways process consolidates multiple motions on one hearing date whenever possible. This can streamline the process and provide an opportunity to consider the motions in a unified hearing.

Divorce cases continue to be scheduled for a resolution plan date at which essential issues are to be decided. But this date is no longer a hearing in front of a judge as it was under the short calendar system. Instead, it is a meeting with a family relations counselor, whose job is to triage the case and to evaluate possible amicable resolutions.

The counselor will review the case to identify such important aspects as:

  • The kind of help needed to resolve the entire case
  • Areas where the spouses agree and disagree
  • How likely it is to reach an agreement on any disputed issue

The counselor will then recommend to the court the type and level of court services needed, which can include alternative dispute resolution services or hearings in front of the judge.

Based on the recommendations of the Family Relations Counselor, The Court places the case on one of three tracks:

  • Track A — for divorces that require little court time and resources, including those that may be fully resolved outside of court
  • Track B — for divorces that require a moderate amount of court resources and time
  • Track C — for divorces where there are major disputes that will require a great deal of court time and resources

The court also enters a scheduling order that lays out the important events and dates for the case.

Pathways is designed to facilitate compromise and agreement earlier in the divorce process. It assists spouses in resolving difficult issues like child custody, spousal support, and the division of major assets. Agreements reached can be later ratified by the court in the divorce judgment. Even when an agreement cannot be reached early on, Pathways focuses the parties on the court resources necessary to resolve the disputed issues.

The O’Neil Law Firm, P.C. has wide experience representing clients in divorce cases in Hartford, Connecticut and the surrounding areas. We know how to navigate the Pathways system with the goal of achieving the best outcome in your case. Contact us online or call 866-418-7593 for a free consultation.