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File for Child Custody in CT

Child Custody Laws & Statutes in CT

Mother with custody of her daughter

While custody orders in Connecticut are based on the best interests of the child, many parents who go without legal representation are often unhappy with the final outcome.

Your rights matter and shouldn’t be disregarded by an indifferent judge. At Goldblatt, Marquette & Rashba, PC, our main priority is securing favorable results on your behalf.

We have represented hundreds of individuals and families going through similar events. Our experience in custody matters is unparalleled and could be the advantage your case needs. Protect your relationship with your child – contact a Hamden child custody attorney from our award-winning firm.

Have additional questions regarding custody laws in CT? Request a case evaluation with an experienced custody attorney today!

How Is Custody Determined in Connecticut?

There are two forms of child custody: legal and physical. Legal refers to the parents’ ability to make decisions for their child, while physical determines which parent the child lives with. A court can award joint or sole custody based on the circumstances.

The court considers the following factors before awarding custody:

  • The stability of each parent’s home
  • The child’s relationship with both parents
  • Needs of the child
  • Each parent’s ability to be involved in the child’s life
  • The parents’ wishes for custody
  • The financial resources of each parent

If one parent is given more significant custody rights, the other parent will typically receive visitation rights. This means that they are allowed to visit the child on specific days and for predetermined amounts of time.

Because family dynamics are always changing, custody orders can be modified under the supervision and discretion of the court.

Understanding the Best Interests of the Child

In Connecticut, family law decisions are based on the child’s best interests. There are a variety of factors a judge will use to determine which type of custody is in the child’s best interests.

These factors include:

  • The ability of each parent to care for the child
  • The age
  • Sex
  • Health of the child
  • And the relationship of each parent with the child

Furthermore, Connecticut family law judges encourage parents to let their children develop positive relationships with the other parent. If a parent puts a child in conflict with the other parent, speaks about the other parent negatively, or discourages the child from building a positive relationship with the other parent, the judge may grant less custody time.

What Are the Types of Child Custody in Connecticut?

As previously mentioned, Connecticut awards parents either legal and/or physical custody. There are legal requirements to both, so it's critical to understand the state laws associated with them.

Legal Custody

Having legal custody of your child essentially means that you have the capacity to make decisions based on the child's education, healthcare, and religious needs. Since this comes with great power, the court prefers to have both parents awarded joint legal custody.

Joint legal custody will let both parents work together to make decisions for the child, and is usually recommended by Connecticut courts. However, sole legal custody may be necessary in cases involving domestic violence.

Physical Custody

This refers to where the child will reside, and can be sole or joint. In joint situations, each parent will get a significant or equal amount of time living with the child.

In sole custody situations, one parent will share residence with the child, and the other may be eligible for visitation. If the child lives primarily with one parent and has minimum visitation hours, the legal term is "sole physical custody". This is often referred to as being the "custodial" parent.

Can a Child Decide Which Parent They Want to Live With?

While the wishes of the child are often taken into consideration, a judge does not base his or her ruling solely on the request. The child's wishes are one of many variables that the court considers when making a decision.

However, the older the child gets, the more weight their opinion holds. While there is no set age, children 12 and older are usually treated differently.

Determining child custody is a significant decision. Under Connecticut law, parents are allowed to create a custody plan on their own, but the plan must still be approved by a family court judge. If the parents are not able to agree, the court will examine the facts of the case and issue a binding custody order.

Who Has Custody of a Child When the Parents Are Not Married in Connecticut?

According to the law in Connecticut, the judge must presume that joint legal custody, shared by both parents, contemplates the child's best interests unless one parent objects to joint custody, and the judge can determine a reason to grant that parent's request.

Can Child Custody Be Modified in Connecticut?

Life happens, and sometimes your child custody orders need to be revised. If a material change in circumstances has occurred, then you may file for a Petition to Modify Custody.

A material change in circumstances may include:

  • The custodial parent has recently become imprisoned
  • There is evidence that the custodial or non-custodial parent is abusing the child
  • The mental or physical health of the child is deteriorating
  • The custodial parent has developed a mental or physical health condition that limits their ability to properly care for the child

How Does Moving Out of State Affect Child Custody?

In some cases, or one both parents may look to move away with their children. In order for a parent to legally move away with their child, they must receive either permission from the other parent, or court approval. For the courts to approve a custody modification for relocation, the parent must fulfill three requirements as dictated by the state.

A parent must be able to show the following:

  • The relocation is for a legitimate purpose
  • The location chosen is reasonable to fulfill this purpose
  • The move aligns with the best interests of the child

The court will make their decision based on the impact that the move will have on the existing parenting plan and the quality of the relationship between the child and each parent. Additionally, the economic benefits and consequences of a move will also be considered.

These scenarios can quickly turn into complex ordeals, making it extremely important that a parent retain trusted legal help in the event that relocation is desired.

What Is Shared Parenting?

Shared parenting means that both parents share custody of their child. This can work out in many ways, but usually means the children move back and forth between the homes of each parent.

Perhaps living with one parent one week and the other parent on the next, or with one parent on weekdays and the other parent on the weekends. The relationship between you and your co-parent also has a lot to do with what parenting plan would work best for you.

While it is important to put your differences aside for the sake of your child, that is easier said than done. If you and your co-parent are able to discuss your children’s welfare without argument, co-parenting could be very doable.

How a Child Custody Attorney Can Help with Custody Arrangements

Navigating child custody arrangements can be a daunting process, especially when tensions are high between ex-partners. This is where a skilled child custody attorney becomes invaluable. A child custody attorney will not only provide legal guidance but also offer relief by helping you understand your rights and obligations. With an experienced attorney by your side, you can ensure that your child's best interests are prioritized while securing a fair and just arrangement.

How Child Custody Attorneys Help

  • Evaluating Your Case: Attorneys begin by assessing the specifics of your situation, including any existing custody arrangements, the relationship dynamics, and any pertinent details that could influence the court's decision.
  • Providing Legal Advice: Understanding the complexities of custody laws is vital. An attorney educates you on the legal aspects relevant to your case, ensuring you are well-informed and prepared.
  • Mediating Negotiations: A lawyer can facilitate productive discussions between you and your ex-partner, aiming to resolve conflicts amicably and reach a mutually agreeable custody arrangement without the need for prolonged litigation.
  • Drafting Legal Documents: Ensuring that all legal paperwork is correctly drafted and filed is crucial. Attorneys manage the creation and submission of custody agreements, petitions for modification, and more.
  • Representing in Court: If negotiations break down, having an attorney represent you in court is crucial. They can present your case, highlight important evidence, and advocate for your interests during legal proceedings.
  • Managing Evidence and Documentation: Attorneys collect, organize, and present evidence that supports your case for custody, including financial records, communication logs, and testimonies from character witnesses.
  • Modifying Custody Orders: If circumstances change, your attorney can help file for a Petition to Modify Custody, advocating for adjustments based on new developments or needs.

Let a Child Custody Attorney Help You

You can never be too prepared when a custody decision is at hand. The last thing you want is to lose the precious connection you and your child share. With Goldblatt, Marquette & Rashba, PC on your side, you can have confidence in what the future holds. We take an aggressive stand for our clients and never stop fighting for what they deserve.

If you need help filing for custody, get in touch with our Connecticut child custody lawyers at (203) 687-4050 today.


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