Connecticut law encourages parents to work out custody arrangements themselves without bringing the issue to court. If they cannot come to an agreement, courts make custody decisions based on what is in the "best interest" of the child. Typically, the courts favor joint custody.

What Is a Parental Responsibility Plan?

Under Connecticut law, divorcing parents must submit a parental responsibility plan before their divorce will be approved. A parental responsibility plan is a detailed, written agreement that sets out how they will share legal and physical custody of their children. If parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, they must submit separate, proposed plans to the court. They must also attend a mandatory parent education course.

What Does the Court Consider in Assigning Custody?

Connecticut courts balance a series of factors when determining the best interest of a child. These factors include:

  • The emotional and developmental needs of the child,
  • The parent’s disposition and capacity to raise the child,
  • The health and emotional wellbeing of everyone involved,
  • The child’s need for stability,
  • The child’s cultural background,
  • The history of contact between the parents and the child,
  • The importance of sibling and other familial relationships,
  • Evidence of child abuse or spousal abuse,
  • The child’s reasonable preference (if age appropriate), and
  • The parents’ wishes.

A parent’s gender is not considered as a factor. Additionally, courts cannot base a custody decision solely on a parent’s disability. In a custody dispute, a guardian ad litem may be assigned to advocate for the child and help assess his or her best interests.

What Happens When the Court Has Made a Decision?

Once the parenting plan and divorce order are signed, they are filed with the court clerk. Both parents are then bound by the approved custody order and the court must approve any modification of the plan.  All modifications must also be in the child’s best interest.

Should I Contact a Connecticut Lawyer Regarding my Custody Issues?

Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged and require a detailed understanding of the law. If you have concerns about custody and parenting time, it is important that you speak with an experienced Connecticut child custody lawyer. A lawyer will help advocate for you and your child and work to secure the best possible parenting arrangement for your family.