Temporary Custody: What Parents Need to Know

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Child riding a bike and temporary custody.Are you a parent going through a separation or divorce? If so, the concept of temporary custody may come up as you navigate parenting. In this article, we will provide you with everything you need to know about temporary custody and how it can impact both parents and children.

Temporary custody serves as an interim solution while waiting for a final custody order, and they outline the rights and responsibilities of each parent during this temporary period. In some cases, this helps maintain stability and minimize confusion for everyone involved.

Whether you’re seeking temporary custody or responding to the other parent, it’s crucial to understand your rights, obligations, and how Connecticut courts view a child’s best interests. We will cover essential topics such as the definition of temporary custody, when courts get involved, and how to reach an agreement.

Freed Marcroft’s team of custody attorneys understand the challenges that arise during this emotional time. Our aim is to provide you with the information and resources you need to navigate this successfully. So, let’s dive in and empower you to make informed decisions that prioritize the well-being of your children.

What is Temporary Custody?

Temporary custody refers to the legal arrangement made between separated or divorced parents to determine who will have physical and legal custody of their children during the period before the court issues a final custody order. It provides a framework for parenting responsibilities and helps ensure the well-being of the children during this transitional phase.

Temporary custody may be necessary in situations where parents cannot reach an immediate consensus on the long-term custodial arrangements or need time to gather evidence or consult with professionals to determine what is in the best interest of the children.

What is a Temporary Custody Order?

A temporary custody order is a court decision granting an adult, who is typically but not always a child’s legal parent, physical and legal custody for a specific, limited time. These orders are not permanent and are only in effect for a temporary period. The court may issue them during ongoing legal proceedings like a divorce or custody action.  Alternatively, judges issue temporary custody orders following an emergencyex parte application” for custody.  This type of temporary custody order remains in place until the formal hearing.

Remember, temporary custody orders remain in effect until a specified date or until a judge issues a new custody decision.  They do not automatically become permanent unless the judge issues a new order making them permanent.

When Do Connecticut Courts Issue Temporary Custody Orders?

Custody and divorce cases can be time-consuming to resolve.  This means that there can be a lot of time between when the divorce is filed and when it’s finalized (and the court issues permanent custody orders).  During this divorce process, family court judges frequently issue temporary orders to establish a temporary parenting structure and protect the child’s best interests.

Temporary custody orders are particularly valuable when the court deems one parent unfit due to factors like substance abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, or violence. When a child’s safety is at risk, it may well make sense to seek a temporary custody order to safeguard your child’s best interests.

In cases where the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is involved and believes your child is in danger or neglected, they can request the court’s permission to remove your child from your or a parent’s custody. Sometimes DCF seeks temporary custody, and a judge will decide whether to grant DCF permission to keep your child until a formal hearing.

Can You Reach an Agreement on Custody?

Yes, parents can reach an agreement on temporary custody.  However, the court will still review it to confirm that it’s in the children’s best interests.

Why Would Parents Need Temporary Custody Orders?

There are several reasons why parents may need this. First, it helps establish a routine and provides stability for the children during a time of uncertainty. Temporary custody orders should also outline each parent’s rights and responsibilities, ensuring that both parties understand their roles in the interim.

Another common and important reason for having temporary custody orders is to prevent conflicts and misunderstandings. By clearly defining visitation schedules, communication protocols, and decision-making responsibilities, parents can minimize potential disagreements and protect their children from unnecessary stress.

Benefits of a Temporary Custody Orders

Having a temporary custody agreement can offer numerous benefits for both parents and children. First, it provides a structured framework for co-parenting during the transitional period, helping to maintain stability and routine. This can be especially important for children, as it provides a sense of security and consistency during a time of upheaval.

Temporary custody agreements also encourage effective communication between parents. By clearly outlining visitation schedules, communication methods, and decision-making processes, parents can avoid misunderstandings and conflicts that may negatively impact their children.

Furthermore, they can help protect the parental rights of both parties. By clearly defining each parent’s responsibilities and rights, the agreement ensures that neither parent is unfairly excluded from their child’s life during the temporary custody period.

How to Create a Temporary Custody Agreement

Creating a temporary custody agreement requires careful consideration and being open-minded. Here are some steps to guide you through the process:

  1. Identify the needs of your child: Start by considering what is in the best interest of your child. Think about their age, routine, and any special needs they may have. This will help you tailor the agreement to suit your child’s specific circumstances.
  2. Establish a parenting plan: A parenting plan outlines how each parent will share parenting responsibilities and make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. It should include details such as visitation schedules, holidays, school activities, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.
  3. Determine visitation schedules: Work together to create a visitation schedule that considers the child’s needs, the parents’ availability, and any practical constraints. Ensure that the schedule is fair and allows for quality time with both parents.
  4. Define communication methods: Decide on the most effective and convenient methods of communication between both parents. This may include phone calls, emails, or a designated communication platform. Clearly outline expectations for response times and the types of information that need to be shared.
  5. Address decision-making responsibilities: Discuss how major decisions regarding the child’s education, healthcare, and religion will be made. Consider whether joint decision-making is appropriate or if one parent will have the final say. It’s crucial to ensure that both parents have a voice in the decision-making process.

Tips for Negotiating

Negotiating a temporary custody agreement can be challenging, especially when emotions are running high. Here are some tips to help facilitate a constructive negotiation process:

  1. Focus on the child’s best interest: Keep the child’s well-being at the forefront. This will help both parents prioritize their child’s needs and make decisions based on what is in their best interest.
  2. Work with an attorney: If temporary custody is in the table, frequently negotiations are difficult.  A family law attorney can provide guidance and help facilitate productive discussions.
  3. Be flexible: Recognize that circumstances change. Remain open to revisiting and modifying the agreement if necessary.

Legal Considerations

In Connecticut, the courts prioritize the best interest of the child when determining parenting arrangements — temporary or otherwise. They consider factors such as the child’s age, physical and emotional needs, the stability of each parent’s home environment, and the child’s relationship with each parent.

When you’re creating a temporary custody agreement, it’s critical to be aware of the legal considerations and requirements. In short, you should work with an experienced family law attorney.

Next Steps

Temporary custody can play a crucial role in providing stability, routine, and clarity during the transitional period following a separation or divorce. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC