In Connecticut, either parent of a child or children may file for custody whether the parents were previously married or not. The process is initiated by completing and filing a number of forms with the court. Once the forms are correctly filed, the petitioning parent must then have copies served on the other parent by a State Marshal. After process of service has been completed, the petitioner then has to file an affidavit of service with the court showing the other party received copies of the documents.
The forms that must be completed are the Custody and Visitation Application, the Order to Attend Hearing and Notice to Respondent, the Notice of Automatic Orders, the Affidavit Concerning Children and the Appearance forms. Additionally, parents who are indigent may also file a form to waive filing fees along with the other paperwork. When everything has been correctly filed, the court will set a hearing to make a custody and visitation determination in the case.
In order to file for custody in Connecticut, the state must have jurisdiction to hear the case for the child or children. The law requires that the child or children have resided in the state for at least six months prior to filing the custody matter or, if the other parent has removed the child from Connecticut, that the child previously resided in Connecticut for more than six months and the child was removed less than six months prior to the filing date.
Child custody disputes are difficult and it is strongly advisable for people going through them to speak with legal counsel. A family law attorney will be familiar with factors the courts take into consideration and equipped to protect the client's rights when faced with a custody proceeding.
Source: State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, "Filing for Custody or Visitation (or both)", September 29, 2014