Sharing custody is the foremost concern for most divorcing parents who have minor children. When families cannot decide on a suitable arrangement for both sides, Connecticut courts will make a determination based on the child’s best interest.
Learn more about the process of arriving at an amenable custody agreement in Connecticut.
Physical vs. legal custody
The parent with physical custody can decide where the child will live. Connecticut law allows for either sole physical custody with visitation by the other parent or joint physical custody in which the child spends roughly equal time living in each parent’s household.
Legal custody describes the right of each parent to make decisions that affect the child’s upbringing. Connecticut courts favor joint legal custody except in cases involving abuse or neglect, even when one parent has sole physical custody.
The custody process
Parents can come to their own custody agreement either independently or with the help of their attorneys and sometimes a professional mediator. They must present this agreement to the Connecticut court so the judge can determine whether it adheres to applicable state laws. When parents cannot agree, they can ask the court to make a decision as part of their divorce decree. Either way, the final child custody agreement will be legally binding until either parent requests a modification.
Best interest factors
The judge will review the following factors to create a custody situation that serves the child’s best interests:
- The child’s wishes, if he or she is at least 12 and mature enough to express a preference
- Each parent’s proposed custody arrangement
- The stability of each parent’s home
- The relationship the child previously had and currently has with each parent
- Whether each parent will encourage a relationship between the other parent and the child
- The active involvement of each parent in the child’s life
- The ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs
Keep in mind that you must follow the legal visitation schedule as established by the court. Failure to do so can result in a contempt order.