Connecticut Connecticut

Child Custody Law

Child Custody General Information - What Is Child Custody?

Child custody is defined as the guardianship over a child, which covers both physical custody and legal custody. In a child custody dispute the court may award joint custody to both parents or sole custody to a single parent.

Child custody cases in Connecticut can be either contested and resolved by court order, or noncontested and defined in a child custody agreement between the parents. A custody agreement or order will legally determine, at minimum, the following things:

  • Where the child lives (physical custody)
  • Who is involved in making parenting decisions (legal custody)
  • How the visitation schedule with non-custodial parents or relatives is arranged

This page describes how a contested child custody case is handled in the Connecticut court system, and what factors are used to determine which parent gets custody.

Connecticut Child Custody Law Summary

After a breakup or divorce in Connecticut, couples with children must come to a child custody agreement that describes which parent the children will live with, how visitation will be scheduled, and how the non-custodial parent will pay child support.

Some of the factors considered by Connecticut in child custody cases include the child's wishes, willingness of the parent to cooperate with their partner and any history of domestic violence. Connecticut considers joint custody orders to be in the best interests of the child where possible.

Can the Court Appoint a Counsel to Help Determine Custody?

The court may appoint counsel on its own motion, or at the request of either of the parties or of the legal guardian of any child or at the request of any child who is of sufficient age and capable of making an intelligent request.

Counsel for the child or children may also be appointed on the motion of the court or on the request of any person enumerated in any case before the court when the court finds that the custody, care, education, visitation or support of a minor child is in actual controversy, provided the court may make any order regarding a matter in controversy prior to the appointment of counsel where it finds immediate action necessary in the best interests of any child.

Counsel for the child or children shall be heard on all matters pertaining to the interests of any child, including the custody, care, support, education and visitation of the child, so long as the court deems such representation to be in the best interests of the child.

Connecticut Child Custody Factors - How Is Child Custody Decided In Connecticut?

If the parents are on amicable terms they may agree to custody terms in a parenting agreement between themselves, or via a mediator. If child custody is disputed, however, they will have to receive a child custody order from a Connecticut judge, who will attempt to make a custody decision that is in the "best interests of the child".

In the state of Connecticut, a number of factors are taken into account by the courts when determining who gets child custody. This section describes Connecticut's custody factors, considerations, and presumptions when evaluating a custody order.

Is there a set list of statutory factors for calculating child custody in the state of Connecticut?

Connecticut has a list of statutory factors that are considered by the court when determining a custody order. This list may include factors such as the child's age, the living situation of each parent, any history of abuse or neglect from either parent, etc. Although there is a statutory list of factors, consider other factors at its discretion depending on the particular circumstances of the case.

Do judges in the state of Connecticut favor joint custody?

Judges in Connecticut are authorized to order either joint or single-parent custody of a child subject to a custody dispute.

Courts in Connecticut are presumed to generally favor custody orders granting joint custody between both the parents where possible. However, the judge will evaluate each case individually when determing whether joint custody is in the best interests of the child.

Do Connecticut courts encourage parents to cooperate together to raise the child?

Connecticut courts favor awarding custody to a cooperative parent who is willing to work together with the other parent regarding child visitation, scheduling, child support, and other co-parenting matters. Connecticut law favors co-parenting as being in the best interests of the child, and the courts will favor a parent willing to cooperate over a parent who attempts to alienate their child from the other parent.

Are the child's wishes considered when determining custody in the state of Connecticut?

In Connecticut, the court does consider the child's reasonable wishes when determining which parent wins custody. The judge may take the child's age, maturity, and judgement into consideration when considering the child's custody preference.

Do Connecticut courts consider domestic violence when determining custody?

Connecticut has laws that explicitly permit the consideration of domestic violence in conjunction with child custody. This may mean that domestic violence is a statutory factor in custody determinations, that the court has a presumption against custody for abusers, or that special procedural considerations are imposed in cases involving domestic violence.

Do the courts in the state of Connecticut have the right to hire an attorney or Guardian Ad Litem to represent the child?

Connecticut has statutory authority for appointment of a guardian ad litem or attorney specifically to represent the child in a custody case. This person advocates for the best interest of the child, and is tasked with investigating the family situation and advising the court what custody situation would be in the best interests of the child.

| State Law Official Text

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