Decisions relating to children can become contentious when parents decide to live apart. Each parent is likely concerned about maintaining a close relationship with their children. In some cases, one parent might try to limit access to the children due to bitterness or a legitimate concern for their safety.

Regardless of the specific circumstances, it is important to know the considerations judges weigh when determining child custody in Stamford. Knowing the factors courts must account for in rendering their opinions allows parents to make informed decisions when negotiating a custody agreement.  A skilled child custody attorney can help a parent obtain a result that most supports their children’s best interests.

Parents Have Equal Rights to a Meaningful Relationship

The law does not discriminate based on gender when awarding child custody in Stamford. Although mothers often received primary custody in the past, the law now recognizes that both parents often work and share child-rearing responsibility in modern families.

However, judges will consider each parent’s role in the child’s life when making custody decisions. A parent who was largely absent or uninvolved in childcare might not receive as much time with the children as an active and engaged parent.

A parent concerned about receiving adequate time with their children should consult an attorney. A legal professional can help them compile evidence showing their importance in their children’s lives and supporting their right to continue a meaningful relationship with them.

Types of Custody Arrangements

Parents who live apart must abide by a parenting plan establishing how they will raise their children. The plan must describe where the children will live, how much time they will spend with each parent, and how the parents will handle major parenting decisions concerning issues like education and healthcare.

Courts encourage parents to work together to develop a parenting plan, allowing them to create a practical plan for their circumstances. A Stamford attorney can help a couple negotiate a child custody order or work with a mediator to determine one that works for their family.

Physical Custody

Physical custody indicates where the children live most of the time. One parent can have physical custody, but, under normal circumstances, the other parent will have the right to visitation, including overnights and extended time on holidays. In rare cases, a parent can petition a court to allow the other parent only supervised visitation, which a court will grant only if the other parent poses a risk to the child’s safety or well-being. Parents have visitation rights unless they surrender or lose their parental rights due to neglect, abuse, or other significant circumstances, such as certain felony convictions.

Legal Custody

Legal custody relates to decision-making authority. Parents often share this authority, even if one parent has primary physical custody. The parenting plan will often describe how the parents will resolve disputes relating to the children. Even when one parent has sole decision-making authority, the other parent retains the right to access the child’s education and medical records and involvement in meetings and appointments.

Joint Custody Often Favored

Connecticut General Statutes §46b-56a presumes that joint physical and legal custody is in the children’s best interests if the parents agree. However, sometimes a parent’s life circumstances prevent them from assuming joint custody. In other cases, parents cannot communicate safely or effectively, which can create an unhealthy environment for the children. Courts will consider other arrangements in these circumstances but still favor allowing each parent significant opportunity to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children.

The Children’s Best Interests are the Determining Factor

Connecticut law requires judges to evaluate any custody arrangement according to whether it serves the children’s best interests. The law describes 17 factors a court can consider when making the best interest determination, including the:

  • Stability of each parent’s home
  • Nature of the bond between the parent and the child
  • Child’s emotional, psychological, and educational needs, and each parent’s ability to identify and meet them
  • Child’s ties to their current community and extended family
  • Length of time the child has lived in their current residence
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health
  • Child’s preferences
  • Each parent’s ability and willingness to support the child’s relationship with the other parent

Even when parents present a parenting plan they agreed upon, a judge must conduct an independent analysis confirming it supports the children’s best interests. A lawyer in Stamford can help parents ensure their child custody plan addresses the issues a court must consider when making its best interest determination.

An Attorney Can Help Parents when Determining Child Custody in Stamford

It can be hard on children when parents live apart. Judges must consider the impact on children when determining child custody in Stamford. If you are trying to work out a custody arrangement with your co-parent, seek help from a local attorney. One of our experienced legal professionals will help you develop a parenting plan that supports your children’s best interests. Call today to speak with a seasoned legal representative.

Connecticut Family Lawyer | CT Family Law | Dolan Family Attorneys N/a
1700 Bedford Street Suite 202 Stamford CT 06905 (203) 599-7498