Parents living apart must determine which parent the children will live with and how much time the other parent will spend with them. Other people who have a role in the child’s life—like adult siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles—might also seek to spend time with a child.

Contact a Fairfield visitation lawyer when issues relating to parenting time or continued contact with children arise. A local family attorney can explain your legal rights, explore alternatives, and support you in maintaining a relationship with the child.

Visitation When Parents Separate

When seeking to divorce, parents must submit a co-parenting plan to the judge for approval. The plan must identify the parent the children will live with most of the time and provide a detailed schedule for visitation with the co-parent, or alternatively provide for shared physical custody which presumes the child will. Connecticut law presumes that each parent should have as much time with the children as is practicable and does not favor one parent over the other as the primary residential parent.

Unmarried parents who separate are not required to submit a parenting plan to the courts, but doing so is a prudent way to protect the parents’ relationship with the children. A court-approved parenting plan is enforceable against either parent, so if one parent acts out disagreements with the other parent by denying access, the courts can protect that parent’s time with the children. Similarly, a formal agreement gives a parent legal recourse if the other parent does not behave responsibly with the children or does not include them in important decision making regarding the children’s health, education or religion.

A relationship with both parents is a child’s right, and courts rarely prevent a parent from visiting with their children. However, if there are concerns a parent cannot provide a safe environment due to substance abuse, mental health concerns, criminal activity, or a history of violence or abuse, a court could require a parent’s time with the children be supervised by a responsible adult. Parents concerned about allowing a co-parent unsupervised time with their children should consult a Fairfield visitation attorney to discuss their legal options.

Complications May Arise for Unmarried Fathers

Legal parents have the right to request custody and parenting time with their children. When a married woman has a child, her husband is the baby’s legal parent without needing confirmation through genetic testing. If the couple later separates or divorces, the husband has equal rights to time with the children. Adoptive parents are also legal parents of a child, and a stepparent who adopts a spouse’s child has equal rights to visitation and custody if the couple parts.

When parents are not married to each other, the mother is the child’s only legal parent unless the father takes steps to declare himself the legal father. Connecticut couples accomplish this by completing an Acknowledgement of Parentage form at the hospital when the child is born or sometime thereafter. Both parents must sign the form.

In other circumstances, an unmarried father who wants visitation with his child must establish his paternity. If the mother is unwilling to acknowledge him as the child’s father, he must bring a court petition to establish paternity, usually through genetic testing. A dedicated visitation lawyer in Fairfield can assist a parent in pursuing or defending a petition for a determination of paternity.

Visitation for Grandparents and Other Connections

Unfortunately, a split between parents often cuts off contact between the children and extended family members like aunts, uncles, and grandparents. None of these relatives has a right to visitation with the children, and the law respects a parent’s authority to deny contact with these family members.

However, an extended family member could bring a petition before a court seeking visitation. Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-59 requires the family member to prove that they had a close relationship with the child that was similar to a parental relationship, and that denying contact would be harmful to the child, which is a very high bar.

A qualified Fairfield visitation attorney can review a specific situation with a family member. If there is adequate proof the child would suffer from breaking off contact, a court action could be fruitful. In other cases, an experienced legal professional might suggest mediation or family counseling to help an estranged family member preserve their relationship with the children.

Contact a Fairfield Attorney for Help with Visitation Issues

Disputes over access to children are traumatic for the children and other family members alike. Negotiating solutions is always the best option when possible.

A Fairfield visitation lawyer can help parents and other family members preserve their relationships with children and protect the children’s best interests. Discuss your situation with a caring attorney today.

Connecticut Family Lawyer | CT Family Law | Dolan Family Attorneys N/a
1305 Post Road, Suite 205 Fairfield CT 06824 (203) 990-1387