The idea of losing access to your children is one of the most terrifying and stressful aspects of a custody dispute. Although courts generally favor preserving the relationship between a parent and their children, courts will limit a parent’s access to their children where appropriate to look out for a child’s best interests.

If you are concerned about losing child custody in Stamford, working with an experienced attorney is critical. A seasoned legal professional can anticipate issues that might arise and work to mitigate them before they threaten your custody rights.

Children’s Best Interests Determine Custody Rights

Judges in Connecticut must determine the children’s best interests when making any custody decisions. The law lists multiple factors judges can consider, and they weigh all the facts and circumstances against these factors in arriving at their decisions.

The law presumes children benefit from having a meaningful relationship with both parents, and thereby favors joint physical and legal custody. However, courts will award one parent sole custody if warranted under the circumstances.

A Stamford attorney can prevent a parent from losing custody by gathering evidence establishing a parent’s involvement in the child’s life and emotional ties with the child. If appropriate, the legal professional can highlight a parent’s willingness to change work schedules if necessary and other proof that a parent is fit to be the primary custodial parent or share custody of the child.

Reasons a Court May Deny Custody Initially

Connecticut General Statutes §46b-56 requires courts to consider the children’s best interests when making all custody decisions. Although the law presumes it benefits children to have significant contact with each of their parents, a judge can make a different decision if the evidence indicates limiting contact with one of the parents would be beneficial.

Judges will put on record the evidence being considered during the divorce proceedings or custody dispute when deciding custody. If one party violates temporary custody orders or engages in bullying or disparaging behavior toward the co-parent, it can negatively impact that party’s custody claim. An attorney in Stamford will advise a parent throughout the process about presenting their arguments in a manner that will not reflect negatively on their fitness in an effort to prevent a parent from losing child custody.

Judges might award sole physical custody if a parent appears to be seeking custody mainly to hurt the other parent. When a party seeking custody has had little involvement with the children before the dispute, a judge might question the sincerity of their desire to raise the children. In addition, a judge can determine that it is in the children’s best interests for a parent who has always been their primary caretaker to raise them.

Possible Visitation Restrictions

Even when a court awards sole custody to one parent, the co-parent usually has visitation rights. Connecticut courts typically limit visitation only when one parent can prove the other is unfit or lives in an environment that poses a threat to the child.

A judge might order supervised visitation where a parent has a history of violence against their children or co-parent. Supervised visitation is also appropriate if the parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse. If a parent is homeless or their home is unsafe for children, a judge might prevent the parent from having overnight visits with the children until they have a suitable residence.

Parents retain visitation rights unless they have surrendered their parental rights or a court has terminated them. If a parent can demonstrate that visiting with a co-parent would be contrary to the child’s best interests, a court might temporarily suspend visitation, and the Stamford parent would lose custody of their children.

Avoid Losing Child Custody in Stamford with an Attorney

If your co-parent has demanded sole custody of your children, work with an experienced lawyer to avoid losing child custody in Stamford. Although the law does not favor denying a parent access to their children, it can happen to a parent without the benefit of capable legal representation to help successfully present their case in court. Call today to discuss your situation with a dedicated legal professional.

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