Few people think about divorce before they are confronted with one. As such, divorcing spouses are unsure what they need to do and learn before[…]
Disputes over child custody are confusing, stressful, and all around overwhelming. As a parent, it is important that you know that you have rights under Connecticut law.
At Stanger Stanfield Law, our experienced West Hartford child custody lawyers will work aggressively to protect your parental rights. We understand that nothing should come before your relationship with your kids. If you have any questions or concerns about child custody rights, child visitation rights, child custody modifications, or child support enforcement, please contact our Connecticut family law attorneys today.
Understanding Child Custody in Connecticut
In Connecticut, the state’s ‘Best Interests of the Child’ legal standard governs child custody issues. Essentially, this means that Connecticut family law courts make child custody decisions based on their view of what will be best for the child. To figure out which custody arrangement is best for the child, state family law courts use a comprehensive analysis. Courts will consider everything from the child’s physical safety and psychological health to their emotional well-being and social development. The specific factors that courts consider include:
- The developmental needs of the child in question;
- Each parent’s capacity to provide a healthy, stable environment;
- Each parent’s past relationship with the child;
- Any history of adverse information, including domestic violence or substance abuse; and
- Any other factors that the court deems relevant to reach the best resolution.
Connecticut Favors Joint Custody
While sole custody can be awarded in some cases, the state of Connecticut strongly favors awarding parents some form of shared custody (joint custody).
In the view of the law, it is inherently in a child’s best interests to have a positive and ongoing relationship with both parents. Of course, there are certain exceptions to that general rule. If evidence is presented that indicates that one parent is unable or unwilling to provide a safe, healthy environment for a child, then it may be appropriate to grant the other parent sole custody.
If you are a parent who is seeking sole custody of your children, it is imperative that you seek help from a top-rated Connecticut child custody lawyer. Your lawyer can help you build a strong case that demonstrates that granting you sole custody is in the best interests of your kids.
The Difference Between Legal Custody and Physical Custody
It is important to draw a distinction between legal child custody and physical child custody. Legal custody essentially refers to decision-making authority. A parent with legal custody has the right to make important decisions for their child — including medical decisions, educational decisions, and religious decisions. In contrast, physical custody refers to where a child will actually spend their time. While joint custody is favored, there may be cases in which it is impractical to grant parents joint physical custody. Still, even when joint physical custody may not make sense, family courts typically favor granting parents shared legal custody.
Can Child Custody / Child Visitation Be Modified?
Yes. Child custody agreements and child custody orders are always subject to modification — at least until the child becomes a legal adult. However, you cannot seek a modification of child custody simply because you do not like the current arrangement.
Connecticut family courts are not interested in letting parents endlessly re-litigate child custody cases. To obtain a child custody modification, a parent must be able to prove that there was a ‘substantial change in circumstances’ that justifies a new custody or visitation arrangement.
If you are seeking a modification, it is usually best to start the process by trying to work with the other parent. Connecticut courts generally give parents wide latitude to modify custody if they are both on board with the change. Still, if you cannot get the other parent to cooperate or to act reasonably, you have options available. You should always be ready to consult with a family law attorney.
Child Custody and Unmarried Parents
If you are involved in a child custody dispute and you were never married, your case may be somewhat more complicated. Specifically, this is an issue for unmarried fathers who may not yet have established their parental rights under Connecticut law.
Before a father can assert custody rights, he must be able to prove paternity. For married fathers, this is typically not an issue because paternity is assumed in those cases.
However, unmarried fathers may need to take legal action, potentially including seeking court-ordered genetic testing, to establish their parental rights.
We Provide a Full Array of Child Custody Legal Services
Our Connecticut family law attorneys have experience handling complex child custody cases. We are proud to provide a full range of child custody and child visitation legal services to parents across the state. We handle the following types of cases:
- Child custody disputes;
- Child visitation disputes;
- Child custody mediations;
- Negotiation of collaborative child time-sharing schedules;
- Modifications to child custody orders and agreements;
- Enforcement of child custody orders and agreements; and
- Enforcement of child support obligations.
One of the primary things that sets our child custody attorneys apart is that we truly understand how sensitive these types of cases can be for Connecticut families. Our law firm always works closely with our clients to help them reach the best possible solution. We know that it is important for you to keep a close, positive relationship with your family. At the same time, our attorneys also understand that you need to be able to protect your parental rights. We are always ready to provide you with the aggressive legal representation that you deserve.
Contact Our Connecticut Child Custody Lawyers Today
At Stanger Stanfield Law, LLC, our Connecticut child custody attorneys have the skills and experience to protect your parental rights. If you need legal help with your child custody or child visitation case, please contact us today.