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Joint custody concerns in Connecticut

Connecticut courts can choose to award custody of a child to one parent, two parents or a third party. Matters of child custody are supposed to reflect what is best for the child in any given situation but also account for the rights of the parents. In many cases, courts award joint custody, allowing parents to share responsibility and decision making for their children. Joint custody would also include arrangements for where children will live and with whom.

Joint custody might include legal custody and physical custody. When parents share legal custody they both get to make decisions regarding their children's health care, education and other concerns. However, it is possible for only one parent to have physical custody of children. Courts generally favor joint custody when both parents ask for it. In cases where courts deny awarding joint custody, they will give reasons for their decision. If only one parent seeks joint custody, the court might require both parents to cover the costs of conciliation.

When parents seeking joint custody in a Superior Court case have a dispute regarding issues such as their children's education or general care needs, parents must file a parental responsibility plan. The plan must include a schedule for whose house the child will live at and at what time during the year as well as provisions for how to handle future disagreements. The plan must also include further provisions regarding decision making, shielding the child from conflict and for managing a child's changing needs.

Courts will generally grant joint custody and approve parental responsibility plans unless they feel that other arrangements are in the children's best interests. Parents seeking joint custody might benefit from getting assistance from an attorney who can explain how child custody matters are determined.

Source: cga.ct.gov, "Sec. 46b-56a. Joint custody. Definition. Presumption. Conciliation. Parental responsibility plan. Modification of orders", October 29, 2014

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