Parents who do not live together must create a parenting plan that preserves the children’s relationships with both parents. When a split is bitter, parents sometimes try to deny a co-parent reasonable access to the children.
The law presumes children benefit if both parents have consistent contact and opportunities to establish and maintain a meaningful relationship with them. If you have difficulty gaining access to your child or believe you have legal justification for preventing your child from interacting with a co-parent, consult a seasoned visitation attorney. They can review your situation and help you understand visitation rights in Connecticut.
Connecticut General Statutes §46b-56a(b) states that a court can assume that joint physical custody is in a child’s best interest if the parents agree to joint custody. A joint custody arrangement means the child spends roughly equal time with each parent. The child might live several days per week with each parent or live with each parent for alternating weeks.
Some parents’ schedules do not allow them to take advantage of joint custody, so the children live with one parent most of the time. Nonetheless, courts require each parent to have sufficient meaningful contact with the children to provide them the opportunity to form a supportive emotional bond.
Courts consider the child’s best interest when making or approving custody or visitation arrangements. The law assumes it serves a child’s needs to have regular contact with both parents. Any parent in Connecticut who desires to limit a co-parent’s visitation rights must prove contact with the co-parent might endanger the child.
A parent’s legal parental rights entitle them to visitation with their child unless a court decides visitation is not in a child’s best interests. The law lists 17 factors a court must consider when determining whether something serves the interests of a child. A history of domestic violence or child abuse is one of the 17 factors. However, a judge has discretion about how much weight to give any of the factors. A Connecticut attorney could help a parent argue that their visitation goals support the children’s best interests.
If a parent makes an allegation of child abuse or domestic violence without proof to support it, a court might believe they are trying to interfere with the co-parent’s parental rights. Courts consider an unwillingness to respect the other parent’s rights against the best interest of the children.
If a parent was convicted of domestic violence or child abuse, a court might appoint a Guardian ad Litem to investigate and give an opinion about whether contact with the parent is safe for the children. If so, a concerned parent could request that the co-parent conduct visits in a public place or somewhere outside their home. A parent could ask that a third party supervise visits with the co-parent.
A difficult situation arises if a child refuses to cooperate with a visitation arrangement. Parents must make children available for visitation according to the parenting plan. If a child is uncooperative, both parents face a dilemma.
Sometimes children act out this way in reaction to the turmoil and disruption of divorce. If neither parent believes the child’s refusal to visit is appropriate, the parents could work with a social worker or counselor to help the child come to terms with their new reality.
If the custodial parent believes there could be a legitimate basis for the child’s refusal to visitation, they should consult a lawyer in Connecticut. A legal professional can ask the court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem, therapist, or other professional to investigate.
If you disagree with a co-parent about visitation with your children, do not let it escalate. Children suffer when their parents cannot support their relationships with their co-parents. Consult a legal professional at our firm about visitation rights in Connecticut. We could guide you to a resolution that supports your children and your relationship with them. Call today to discuss your options.