There is nothing more important than a parent’s relationship with their child. However, divorcing from the child’s other parent can complicate that relationship and lessen the time you and your child spend together.
An experienced Stamford visitation lawyer appreciates the need for ongoing and meaningful contact with your child. Our child custody attorneys can work tirelessly to help ensure that you remain in your child’s life regardless of the status of your relationship with the co-parent.
Under state law, physical custody refers to where a child lives. If a child resides primarily with one parent, that parent is said to have physical custody.
Legal custody grants one or both parents the authority to make significant decisions affecting their child. When parents have joint legal custody, they must consult with each other before making major life decisions, such as those relating to the child’s health, schooling, religion, etc.
In contrast, visitation is the noncustodial parent’s right to see their child according to a specific schedule. Although state law generally favors both parents having substantial time with their child, if a judge determines that shared custody is not in a child’s best interests, they can order primary custody to one parent and award visitation to the other.
Stamford parents can create a visitation agreement on their own or with a skilled attorney that, when filed with the court, becomes a fully enforceable legal order. These agreements may contain many terms specific to each family’s situation. For example, a detailed agreement can address:
A detailed parenting and visitation plan can set clear expectations and boundaries, which can promote better communication and understanding between parents.
Although co-parents are able and encouraged to negotiate a parenting plan agreement outside of a trial setting, the final agreement must be approved by a judge and incorporated into a court custody and visitation order. Once ordered, a parent that violates the custody and visitation agreement may be subject to a finding of contempt and sanctioned accordingly.
If found in contempt, a parent may face fines and, for extreme violations, subject to jail time. Under Connecticut General Statute §46b-87, a judge can also order a contemptuous parent to pay the other’s legal fees for filing and pursuing the contempt action.
State law does not grant grandparents an automatic right to visitation with their grandchildren. Where the grandparents previously had close ties with their grandchildren that were suddenly cut off, they may petition the court for visitation. To succeed in obtaining court-ordered visitation, the grandparents must prove to the court that they had a parent-like relationship with their grandchildren, in addition to demonstrating that the grandchildren would suffer ‘real and significant harm’ if access to the grandparents was denied.
Judges generally do not want to contradict the parent’s right to raise their children as they see fit. Accordingly, obtaining visitation when the natural parents object can be extremely challenging. A dedicated parenting time lawyer in Stamford can help grandparents negotiate time with their grandchildren or, if an agreement cannot be reached, present their case to a judge.
Even if a parent is not awarded primary custody, they retain the right to court-ordered time with their child. Visitation agreements are an excellent tool to ensure that you have substantial time with your child should you and the co-parent decide not to reside together.
Contact a dedicated Stamford visitation lawyer today if you have questions or need help drafting an agreement. Our skilled legal team can create a detailed agreement that protects your parental rights and enables you to maintain a meaningful role in your child’s life. Call today to get started.