In Connecticut, divorces where children are involved, the court’s intention is to put children first. Since children have no choice in a divorce, this is good thing. It ensures someone is looking out for their interests.
So you shouldn’t be surprised when your attorney tells you that it is in your best interest to come up with an amiable agreement with your future ex-spouse regarding custody of your children. The courts will allow parents to come up with a child custody and visitation plan themselves as long as it parallels Connecticut child custody guidelines.
What do Connecticut courts consider “in the best interest of the child?” Connecticut courts prefer for both parents to be actively involved in their children’s lives. This means they also expect the parents to work towards that end (to the extent it is possible) by supporting and encouraging this endeavor.
When it comes to custody of a child, there are two elements to be considered: physical custody and legal custody. Having physical custody means the child will live with you; having legal custody means you have the right to make important decisions regarding the child.
Connecticut courts would love to give both joint physical custody and joint legal custody to both parents. But this can only be done if parents are willing to work together, and a plan can be worked out. That is why it is in your best interest if you and your attorney can work out an agreeable parenting plan with your children’s other parent before going to court. A judge who does not know you or your spouse will have to rely on what he or she is told and his or her opinion of who is best suited.
There are times when sole physical custody is the best option for a child. One example would be if abuse has occurred with the other parent. Sole custody with one parent does not eliminate visitation rights to the other parent, but if abuse was present, supervised visitation may be ordered.
A person can also be awarded sole physical custody and have joint legal custody with the other parent, or it could be vice versa. You may have joint physical custody, but be awarded sole legal custody.
Source: Our Family Wizard, “Connecticut Child Custody Laws,” accessed Feb. 08, 2018