For families with children, decisions surrounding child custody and visitation are often the most emotional aspects of divorce and family law. Freed Marcroft’s family law attorneys compassionately represent parents, while helping them determine a parenting plan in their children’s best interest. We offer mediation and collaborative divorce to support parents seeking to reach agreements on parenting and child support. A non-adversarial method allows for a creative and flexible parenting plan that anticipates the future as your children grow. When negotiation isn’t an option, our Connecticut child custody lawyers are effective custody litigators. They advocate on your behalf for the custody and visitation plan of the greatest benefit to your children.
How the Courts Decide Child Custody
Parents always have the opportunity to agree on custody and visitation. We reach these parenting plans via negotiation in litigated divorces or in litigation alternatives like mediation and collaborative divorce. When parents can’t agree, it’s a contested custody case. In a contested custody litigation, the court considers multiple factors to determine what’s in the child’s best interest. Then, the judge rules on custody and visitation. The custody factors include:
- The child’s needs
- The child’s relationships
- The child’s living situation
- The health of all parties involved
- Instances of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect
Physical and Legal Custody
Custody is defined as the legal arrangement for the care of children. There are two types of child custody: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to a child’s living situation. Otherwise put — physical custody means where a child lives, and when they live there. Legal custody gives parents the ability to make major decisions for their children in terms of their education, healthcare, and religion, amongst other things. Our Connecticut child custody lawyers are dedicated to getting a parenting plan in place that is rooted in your goals for you and your children, and one that is in your child’s best interests.
Creating a Balanced Parenting Plan
Physical and legal custody can be joint, sole, or awarded to a third party such as a grandparent. In a parenting plan with joint physical custody, children spend time living with both parents, even if the amount of time is not exactly equal. It’s even possible to have joint custody when one parent lives out-of-state or internationally. If you have sole physical custody, your child will physically live with you, while the other parent may have visitation rights.
Most Connecticut parents have both joint physical and joint legal custody. With joint legal custody, both parents share the ability to make decisions for the children. Sole legal custody means only one parent will have this decision-making power. Sole legal custody is sometimes ordered when one parent is uninvolved, or when the parents are unable to make decisions together. In other cases when parents are unable to make decisions together, the court will order joint legal custody, but give one parent final decision-making authority. Despite the common myth to the contrary, there is often child support when there’s joint physical custody – even when kids spend equal time with each parent. Freed Marcroft’s legal team will explain the ins-and-outs of the custody and parenting options available to you and your kids.
When the court finalized your divorce, it issued an enforceable divorce decree. But sometimes, parenting plans, custody arrangements, or child support need to be changed Post Judgment to keep up with parents’ and kids’ changing lives. Sometimes parents file a Motion to Modify to seek additional parenting time, to relocate or move, or to reflect changes to work or school schedules. As always, any modifications to a parenting plan must be in the child’s best interests. Freed Marcroft’s lawyers have the depth of knowledge and experience about family law and with the Connecticut courts to deploy the most strategic Post Judgment custody motions for you.