The best interests of a child refer to the circumstances and actions that foster the emotional and mental development, safety and security of the child. Connecticut is one of 21 states that lists specific factors the court must consider in a child custody case before issuing an order.
Custody decisions may have lasting implications for both parents and children, making it important to have reliable information and assistance as you deal with the issues. Whether a child custody case results in connection with a divorce or between unmarried parents, the situation could become contentious as parenting time, support and other decisions are addressed. It is important that both your child's interests and your concerns be voiced firmly and effectively.
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.
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.
Police in Maine have taken a 32-year-old mother into custody after she failed to return her three sons to their father following a visit. The mother and father have joint custody of the children, but the children live in Vernon, Connecticut, with the father. The mother has visitation rights. She had recently moved back to Connecticut after spending time living in Maine.
As Connecticut readers may be aware, international travel provides great opportunities for children, but also great risks, particularly for children of divorced parents. As travel becomes more attainable, some divorced parents use an overseas vacation as a means to abduct children and keep them away from the other parent. There are some precautions that an ex-spouse can take to ensure that the children travel safely and return from their international trip. Parents are advised to consult with an attorney who has some knowledge regarding the laws of the places the children will be visiting. An attorney may help the non-traveling parent to protect his or her child custody and visitation rights.
Connecticut residents who follow incidents of international abduction may know that a Colorado father's journey to have his children returned is almost at an end. After he won primary custody of his children in a Colorado court, his Argentine-born wife took his daughters to Buenos Aires and established residence. The father made an application pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to bring the children back and has spent years waiting for rthe process to conclude.
The father of an 8-year-old girl filed a complaint against the guardian ad litem that was assigned to represent his daughter in his custody case after his former wife was arrested for attempting to hire a man to kill him. The murder-for-hire plot took place about three years after the husband filed for divorce in 2009. Throughout the ordeal, the mother has retained custody of the child.
In January, a Connecticut task force appointed to study problems in family court and child custody cases began releasing recommendations to state lawmakers. Among them was a proposal that the courts limit legal costs to families, specifically the fees paid to court-appointed child guardians.
Parents and grandparents joined together in Hartford at the capitol pleading for a change during a hearing. They told lawmakers that the current child custody system is not working and is letting down the children.