Child custody decisions are guided by the principle of prioritizing the well-being and welfare of the child involved. This legal concept, known as the best interests of the child, is what courts consider in child custody, prioritizing the emotional, physical, and psychological well-being of the child involved when determining custody arrangements during divorce or separation cases. The focus on the best interests of the child aims to ensure that custody arrangements are designed to promote the child’s overall happiness and growth while minimizing potential disruptions caused by family changes.
In this blog, we are highlighting our New Haven office, which is one of our five convenient locations. When it comes to the intricate matter of child custody, prioritizing the best interests of the child is important. At McConnell Family Law Group, our New Haven child custody lawyers understand the complexities involved and are dedicated to safeguarding the welfare of your children throughout the legal process. Contact us at (203) 490-6983 to schedule a consultation.
What Exactly Are the “Best Interests” of the Child in Connecticut?
When Connecticut courts are hearing divorce and/or child custody cases, they base many of their decisions on a concept commonly known as the “best interests” of the child. While this seems fairly self-explanatory at first, it is important to know exactly what is considered so you can know what to expect and better prepare your case.
The following are some of the key components that add up to paint an overall picture of what is in the best interests of the child.
The Ability to Co-Parent
To the extent they are able, a judge will look at how willing and able each parent is to put their differences aside and co-parent together. If one parent has a history of trying to use the child against the other, they are less likely to be awarded custody. Courts are really looking to encourage both parents to maintain a good relationship with each other, for the sake of the child.
Meeting Developmental Needs
The developmental needs of the child must be met in order to help the child grow and mature into a healthy adult. Parents who are able to meet developmental needs are going to be awarded custody more often. In this “category” a judge will also factor in the desires of the children themselves if they are old enough for it to be appropriate to ask their opinion on such an important topic.
A judge will likely look at how well each parent is able to foster a healthy environment for meeting the child’s educational needs. This can include anything from how close to the school each parent lives, to how much time they will have to work with the child on homework or other related things.
Health & Safety
Of course, the physical health and safety of the child is going to be extremely important in their overall well-being. If one parent has a history of violence, or can’t provide a stable home environment, it is unlikely they will be awarded custody. A judge can consider anything they feel is applicable in this area, and depending on the situation, this can be the category that carries the most weight when determining the overall best interests of the child.
Get the Representation You Need
In addition to the aforementioned factors, the judge has the discretion to look at other factors in his or her final determination. When making a case to the courts regarding what is in the best interests of your child, it is important to have an attorney who can show why you are strong in each of these areas. Contact McConnell Family Law Group to talk about your situation, and see how we can help.
|Factors for Best Interests of the Child||Description|
|Ability to Co-Parent||Evaluates the willingness and ability of each parent to cooperate and co-parent effectively without using the child against the other parent.|
|Meeting Developmental Needs||Considers whether parents can meet the child’s developmental needs, including emotional, social, and psychological growth. May involve considering the child’s desires if they are old enough to express opinions.|
|Educational Needs||Assesses each parent’s capability to create a conducive environment for the child’s education. Factors may include proximity to school and involvement in homework.|
|Health & Safety||Prioritizes the physical health and safety of the child. Courts examine the stability of the home environment and any history of violence or instability that could affect the child’s well-being.|