If you are separating from your children’s co-parent, child custody is likely one of your primary concerns. Child custody disputes can be highly contentious, especially if you and the co-parent do not agree on the living arrangements for your children.
Our Stamford child custody lawyers understand the seriousness of these cases and your rights as a parent. A compassionate family attorney can fight on your behalf to reach a favorable outcome and advise you of your legal options throughout the process.
Stamford family court judges must address two different types of custody when deciding these disputes.
Physical custody refers to where a child lives. If one parent is granted primary physical custody, their child will live with them for the majority of the time. Under shared physical custody schedules, the child spends relatively equal amounts of time with each parent. In primary physical custody situations, the noncustodial parent is typically given regularly scheduled parenting time with the child.
While state law supports both parents’ involvement in their children’s lives, if one parent presents a danger to their child for any reason, a judge may restrict his or her visitation or require that a neutral third party supervise the visitation.
A parent’s authority to make important decisions for their child is known as legal custody. These decisions often include choices relating to education, healthcare, and religion. Family judges generally presume that fit parents should share joint legal custody and work together to make important decisions regarding the children. If joint legal custody is not in a child’s best interest, the court may grant one parent sole legal custody or final decision-making authority.
Understanding the differences between these two types of custody is essential for any parent involved in a custody dispute. A knowledgeable Stamford lawyer can further explain these child custody arrangements and each parent’s rights and responsibilities.
When determining what custody schedule will best meet a child’s needs, a court must assess certain statutory factors. Most importantly, any custody order must be in a child’s best interests. Under Connecticut General Statutes §46b-56, the elements for determining ‘best interests’ include but are not limited to:
Even when parents agree on custody, a judge must independently assess whether the proposed arrangement is suitable for the child. If it is not, the court may disregard it and set a different custody schedule. A capable lawyer in Stamford can further explain these factors and how judges weigh them when deciding child custody arrangements.
While a child’s preference is one of the many factors a judge can consider, there is no specific age at which a court must comply with the child’s wishes. Family courts must instead assess whether the child is mature enough to make a reasoned decision.
Child custody is often one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce, as custody determines how parents will share the responsibility of raising their children.
A caring Stamford child custody lawyer takes these cases very seriously. Members of our skilled team prioritize the child’s physical and emotional health and the parent’s goals. Contact us today to learn more about successfully resolving custody disputes.