Divorces are a messy business, especially when the decision of the child's custody has to be made. Child custody is a legal term. It basically a law on guardianship and determines which parent will get the custody of the child or in case of joint custody, up to what extent will they get rights on the guardianship.
In Connecticut, the child custody laws are made in the best interest of the child. Steps are taken so that the parents do not use their child as a way to get back at each other. The parent can file for temporary custody while the divorce proceedings are taking place and then apply for permanent custody.
Child Custody Laws in Connecticut:
The Connecticut law allows the parents of the child to decide who will get custody rights and up to what extent amongst themselves. As long as the decision is made keeping the well being of the child in mind, the court supports the decision of the parents. The parents are required to form an agreement, they can opt to take the help of an attorney for the same, however, it is not required. Once their agreement is finalized, they need to submit it to the court for review.
The Court will review the agreement and consider various factors such as,
- Whether the parent is capable of supporting the child physically, mentally and financially
- Whether the parent can meet the child's needs
- Whether the parent can be actively involved in their child's life
- The child's preference and needs
- Whether the parent can encourage a relationship between the other parent and the child, etc.
The Connecticut court tends to award joint custody, as it presumes that this would be in the best interest of the child. The court may, however, make exceptions for certain cases. The terms for joint custody may be on equal for both the parents or may differ depending on the parent's ability to actively participate in the child's life and cater to their needs. The joint custody can be legal, physical or both.
Legal Custody: Both the parents can get legal custody and they will be able to make legal decisions of the child, their healthcare, religion, and education.
Physical Custody: The parent with physical custody will have the right to live a significant amount of time with their child. the amount of time that a parent can stay with the child may be equal for both the parents or may differ.
Both Physical and Legal Custody: It is possible for the parents to get both physical and legal custody, depending on the living arrangements of the child and how the parents come to a settlement.
Although unusual, the Connecticut court can grant sole custody to one parent, if the parent is found to be unfit. If one parent is an addict, prone to violence or abuses, the court may give sole physical or legal custody of the child to one parent only.
Legal Custody: The court normally provides legal custody to both parents. However, in extreme cases, it will allow one parent to make all the important decisions in the child's life, especially if they are in the child's best interest.
Physical Custody: The court will give the sole physical custody to one parent, while the other parent will have visitation rights to visit the child. The visits may be supervised if the custodial parent is uncomfortable leaving their child alone with the other parent.
The State mostly favors the child's parent for custody. However, it does allow the non-parents to take custody of the child if one or both parents are unfit to raise the child, are addicts, prone to violence or abusive. In such cases, the non-parent need to prove that leaving the child with their parent would be harmful.