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What are the Connecticut child custody laws?

If you are considering a divorce in Connecticut and you have children, you should make sure you know the laws regarding child custody. The way that those laws might affect child custody decisions in your divorce will be important and could influence your next move.

The first thing you should know is that in Connecticut, parents are usually allowed to come up with their own custody arrangement if they can agree on one. If your attorney presents an agreement made by both parties to the court and the agreement appears to be in the best interests of the child(ren), the court will usually approve the agreement.

What is considered 'in the best interests of the child?'

Connecticut courts look at many different things when considering "the best interests of the child." The home environment and the ability to care for the child's needs are considered, but there is another thing that Connecticut child custody laws deem to be very important. That is having both parents active in a child's life.

Of course, for both parents to be active in a child's life, it takes the willingness of both. If one parent talks bad about the other parent to the child or involves the child in parental arguments and conflicts, the courts may grant less custody to that parent, deeming it as not in the best interests of the child.

Does joint custody give both parents equal rights?

In Connecticut, there are two types of child custody to be determined, which are physical and legal. Whoever the child is dwelling with has physical custody. When joint physical custody is awarded, both parents usually have equal, or close to equal, amounts of time where the child lives in their home.

Legal custody is the right to make life choices for the child, such as educational decisions, medical and healthcare decisions and religious decisions. When joint legal custody is awarded, both parents have the right to make those important decisions.

While it is good to know that Connecticut courts care strongly about your child's best interests, as a parent, you probably have strong feelings about what you feel is "best." If you are seeking a divorce, it is in your best interest if you and your spouse can work together with your attorneys to come to your own child custody agreement.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "Connecticut Child Custody Laws," accessed March 22, 2018

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