When you enter into a custody order, provided by you or the court system, you are agreeing to follow the order in its entirety or face the consequences set by the judge. The basis of custody orders in Connecticut is whatever is in the best interests of the child. As co-parents, you can come up with your own plan if it serves your child’s best interests. Here’s what you need to know about child custody arrangements.
The Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody
Legal custody is when a parent has the power to make key decisions on behalf of the child, such as medical, educational, or religious choices. Normally, parents will share joint legal custody and share this power even when sole physical custody is granted to one parent alone. Unless impossible, such as in abuse cases, Connecticut courts will lean towards joint legal custody.
Physical custody is the right for a parent to physically live with their child. Joint custody means the child will spend significant time at both parents’ homes, and sole custody is when a child primarily lives with one parent while the other parent has visitation rights. Custody is considered joint even if the child doesn’t spend equal time at both homes.
Making Your Own Custody Agreement
Connecticut law allows parents to create their own custody agreement outside of a courtroom, with or without a lawyer’s help. Just know that the court will still review the custody agreement to be sure it’s in the child’s best interests.
Factors for Child’s Best Interests
Family courts look at any factor they believe is relevant to the custody case, but they’re not supposed to weigh any specific factor above the others. Instead, decisions should be made by looking at all of the presented evidence. To determine a child’s best interests in coming up with a custody agreement, Connecticut General Statute §46b-56(c) requires Connecticut courts to consider the following factors :
- Can the parent understand and meet the child’s needs?
- Is the parent willing to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent?
- Is the parent’s living situation stable?
- Does the parent want custody?
- What are the child’s needs and temperament?
- Is the parent actively involved in the child’s life?
- What kind of relationship does the child have with each parent?
- If the child is old enough, what are their wishes for custody?
When battling your spouse for custody, it can be easy to focus on your own interests and lose track of the best interests of your child. A good family lawyer can help you protect your rights and still put the rights of your child first. The McConnell Family Law Group has years of experience creating parenting plans and trying custody cases. We’ll help you get the most time possible with your child following a divorce. We help our clients find Peace Through Strength!
Contact us today!