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.