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When circumstances change after an initial child custody order

No matter what happens in a Connecticut couple's relationship, if they have children together, they will always be bound to each other. The parental bond does not go away simply because a couple does not remain together. During the divorce proceedings, decisions regarding child custody arrangements will need to be made that usually allow each parent to continue to be a part of the children's lives.

Courts here in Connecticut and elsewhere base their custody decisions on the best interests of the children. In reaching a decision that meets this requirement, judges consider numerous factors. They also consider the desires of the parents and the children -- if the kids are old or mature enough to make a decision.

The court also looks at the relationships developed between each parent and the children. Beyond these considerations, judges look at the totality of the circumstances of everyone in the family. This means each parent's character is brought into question. Of course, any history of domestic abuse, substance abuse and other factors affect any decision regarding custody. An order is entered based on the current circumstances.

An initial child custody order is based on a snapshot of the family at the time of the divorce. However, over time, people and their circumstances can change. If one parent develops a mental health problem, begins abusing drugs or alcohol or otherwise undergoes a significant personality change that makes them an ineffective -- and perhaps destructive -- parent, a modification of the current order might be needed. If the court determines that the current order no longer serves the best interests of the children, changes could be made.

Source: idahostatesman.com, "In Idaho Amber Alert case, how does child custody work?", John Sowell, May 16, 2017

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