What Happens When Connecticut Divorcing Parents Reach an Agreement on Custody, Visitation, and Parenting Time?
Many divorcing Connecticut parents ultimately reach an agreement about how they will co-parent — including custody, visitation, and parenting generally. What happens next in Connecticut Courts? What must the written agreement (or “Parenting Plan”) include? Will the divorce court accept your agreement?
How Do Parents Reach Parenting Agreements?
For some Connecticut divorcing parents, agreeing on parenting is relatively easy. For other parents, it takes more work, reflection, and discussion.
In divorce litigation, this often takes the form of negotiations between your respective divorce attorneys. Or, it may involve consultation with mental health professionals experienced in what parenting schedule will best support your children. For example, in a collaborative divorce, your team will include a mental health professional to help you find common ground. In mediation, your mediator provides resources to help you develop a workable plan in your children’s best interests.
Whatever your path to an agreement, your divorce lawyer will draft what’s called a parenting responsibility plan. Then, the parenting plan is submitted to the court with a request that it become the court’s order.
What Must a Connecticut Parenting Agreement Include?
In Connecticut, the parenting plan that divorcing parents agree on must (1) set forth each parent’s authority and responsibility for the child and (2) provide for the child’s physical care, emotional stability, and changing needs as he or she grows older.
Parenting plans must:
- designate where the child will live during the year
- allocate decision-making authority to either or both parents for the child’s health, education, and religious upbringing
- make a plan to resolve future disputes that include seeking assistance from mental health professionals or others in reaching a developmentally appropriate resolution, where appropriate
- deal with (a) a parent’s failure to honor his or her responsibilities under the plan and (b) the child’s changing needs over time
- minimize the child’s exposure to harmful parental conflict and encouraging the parents in appropriate circumstances to meet their responsibilities through agreements
- protect the child’s best interests.
Must the Connecticut Divorce Court Accept Our Parenting Agreement?
The main statute addressing custody of children as between two parents is §46b-56 of the Connecticut General Statutes. Under §46b-56, the court must adopt consensual parenting plans and enter them as a court order. Alternatively, the court must hold a hearing and determine that the plan is not in the child’s best interests.
Your experienced Freed Marcroft divorce lawyer will share insights and experiences about what may be considered in a child’s best interest. Then, they will apply that knowledge and experience to the specifics of your situation and customize their advice to you.
The specifics of how parenting might work for you depends on the ins and outs of your family situation, your children, and your goals for your children.
For more information about Connecticut divorce and family law, check out our Divorce Information and Facts.