Child custody is a sensitive issue for many parents. The thought of losing your parental rights can be devastating, especially when you are separating from your partner or spouse.
If you are involved in a custody dispute, it may benefit you to speak with a lawyer about the potential reasons for denying child custody in Connecticut. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand how the court makes these decisions.
The two types of child custody in Connecticut are legal custody—the ability to make major life decisions for the child—and physical custody—where the child primarily resides. In a child custody case, the court may award primary physical custody to one parent and set a visitation schedule for the other parent. Alternatively, the court may decide the child should spend equal time with both parents.
If the court awards one party sole legal custody, that parent can make significant life decisions about the child without involving the other parent. In a shared legal custody scenario, both parties would need to agree on major life decisions.
The court makes all custody decisions based on what is in the child’s best interest. Though it is common for the court to rule in favor of shared custody, it can deny either type of custody to one parent if it would harm the child.
During the pendency of the child custody case, upon a party filing the proper motion the court may put a temporary custody order in place to ensure both parties have access to the child and to enable the parties to make necessary decisions for the child pending the resolution of the case. If a parent disobeys this temporary order, they can be found in contempt by the court.
Violating the temporary court order can create a credibility issue that may negatively impact the offending parent’s argument for custody. Ultimately, any violation could influence the court to reject a request for child custody.
Divorcing spouses and former partners often disagree on many issues regarding their shared children. However, if conversations between two parents regularly end in serious arguments or verbal harassment, the court will note that. Additionally, if the arguments are negatively impacting the child’s wellbeing, the court may require the parents to communicate exclusively through an online program, such as Our Family Wizard.
Using these types of programs allows parents to communicate about their children without calling each other and potentially starting unnecessary arguments. If one party disobeys the court’s request to use communication software during the pendency of the case, it could hurt their chances of obtaining child custody. Likewise, if one party refuses to speak with the other parent altogether, the judge will consider that in their final child custody decision.
If a parent was charged with a criminal offense, the underlying facts of the case might be relevant in a child custody hearing. For example, if they were convicted of a violent crime, a court may decide based on how the party presents and the history of the person’s case that a child’s safety would be compromised if custody were granted. However, if a parent was convicted of a non-violent crime such as tax fraud, the judge may not consider it relevant to a determination of the child’s best interests. A criminal record does not automatically lead to a denial of custodial rights in Connecticut.
If one party believes the other parent has demonstrated concerning behavior, they may bring in social media posts to prove that parent is unfit. This would be especially relevant if the party’s social media profile demonstrated that the parent was acting dangerously or irresponsibly during their parenting time. After reviewing the evidence, a judge could deny or limit custody in their final orders.
If you are preparing for a disputed custody case, you should understand how the court makes its rulings. The court will always rule in favor of what is in the child’s best interest. Consequently, there are many potential reasons for denying child custody in Connecticut. Reach out to an experienced attorney today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.