Separating from your partner is never easy, but it can be incredibly challenging if you have a child together. As a parent, you have likely faced many difficult choices regarding your child’s well-being throughout their lifetime. Determining a custody schedule may be one of the most important decisions you make.
Whether you are trying to negotiate a custody agreement with your former partner, or your case has already been filed, the assistance of an experienced family law attorney can be beneficial. A Hartford child custody lawyer can help protect your legal right to a meaningful relationship with your kid.
Both legal and physical custody must be determined in every child custody case. It is essential to fully understand the various forms of guardianship and what rights each parent has in any given arrangement.
Legal custody is a parent’s right to make decisions about religion, medical treatment, educational opportunities, and extracurricular activities for their child. One parent may have ‘sole’ legal custody, which gives them the right to make the final decisions on crucial matters relating to their child. If the parents’ share’ legal guardianship, known as joint custody, both parties must agree on any significant decisions affecting their child.
In Hartford, if one parent has sole legal custody and wants their child to be raised in a particular religious faith, that parent may enroll the child in religious schooling and activities without the other parent’s consent. When parents have joint legal custody, both must agree on the decision before the child can participate. A seasoned local attorney can explain the essential differences between sole and joint legal custody.
Physical custody determines where a child lives on a day-to-day basis. If a minor lives primarily with one parent, that parent is said to have ‘primary physical custody’ of the child, and the other parent has visitation. Alternatively, both parties may have shared physical custody, resulting in the child having almost equal time with each parent. Although Connecticut courts generally prefer shared custody, primary custody may be awarded to one parent if it is in the child’s best interests.
In any custody dispute, Connecticut General Statutes §46b-56a states that the parents must file a proposed parental responsibility plan that includes:
A state court will review each parent’s proposed plan, determine which one best meets the child’s needs, and issue a final custody order incorporating that plan.
The courts’ standard for evaluating custody is determining what is in the best interest of the child. Under Connecticut General Statutes §46b-56c, the factors that may influence a court’s decision include:
An experienced lawyer in Hartford can assess these factors and help a parent determine what legal and physical custody arrangement best serves their child’s needs.
If you choose to handle your custody dispute on your own, the court may rule in the other party’s favor. This could have a lifelong impact on both you and your child.
However, an experienced attorney can guide you through the process of establishing your custodial rights and protecting your child’s best interests. Contact our firm today and talk with a Hartford child custody lawyer about your case.