When you divorce, it’s a given that you’ll want a plan to provide an environment where your children can grow up happy and healthy. You’ll also want to ensure that your plan is in accordance with state laws.
A West Hartford child custody lawyer understands how to craft a parenting plan that follows Connecticut law. Let the family attorneys at Freed Marcroft help you look after the best interests of your children.
Defining Responsibilities Through Parenting Plans
Parents who separate must create parenting plans defining primary physical custody—where the children will live most of the time. Joint physical custody is when children spend significant time with both parents. Parents must also determine who has legal custody (decision-making authority) of the children. For example, one parent can have sole legal custody, or both can share decision-making.
There are many things to include in your parenting plan, including:
- Physical and legal custody
- Detailed information about visitation, holiday schedules, transportation, and drop-offs
- Parents’ pledges about how they will conduct themselves with the children
At Freed Marcroft, a West Hartford child custody attorney can help you negotiate an agreement that will work well for your family – and that the court will approve. A parenting plan created with your co-parent gives you more control over this critical aspect of your family life than if a judge decides for you.
Determining the Children’s Best Interests
When reviewing custody and parenting time decisions, the divorce court evaluates what’s in the children’s best interests. In other words, even when parents have reached an agreement, the divorce court won’t approve a parenting plan unless it believes the agreement supports the children’s best interests.
Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-56 lists several criteria the judge should consider when determining what is in children’s best interests:
- The children’s temperament and developmental needs
- The capacity of each parent to identify and respond to the children’s needs
- The parents’ and children’s preferences
- The relationship between each parent and the children
- The relationships between each child and their siblings, and any other members of each parent’s household
- The ability of each parent to encourage and nurture the children’s relationships with the other parent
- The stability of the children’s current residence
- The length of time the children have resided at their current residence
Divorce courts favor arrangements in which both parents retain substantial parenting time. However, suppose your family situation does not allow roughly equal time in each parent’s household. In that case, the courts anticipate that the non-custodial parent will have regular, consistent access to the children, usually including overnights and longer holidays.
Unless evidence indicates otherwise, the divorce court also presumes both parents should have decision-making authority. A West Hartford lawyer can honestly assess whether the court will agree that your ideal parenting plan is in your children’s best interests and, if necessary, help you make the changes to meet the court’s standard.
Parenting Plan Modifications
While a parenting plan supports your children’s best interests at the time of the divorce, both children’s needs and parents’ circumstances may change over time. When this happens, parents should modify the parenting plan with the court. Once approved, a judge typically incorporates the modified plan into a new court order.
When parents disagree about a modification, the parent seeking the change must petition the divorce court for alterations. A child custody attorney in West Hartford can help you pursue or defend a custody agreement modification.
Work With a West Hartford Child Custody Attorney
Consult with a West Hartford child custody lawyer when preparing to raise your children after a divorce. We understand how incredibly important your children are to you and want to ensure you craft a parenting plan that will work well for and grow with your family. Place a call to Freed Marcroft to learn more about how we can help.