The most difficult decision parents going through divorce face is determining the custody arrangement for their children. Houses can be sold, cars can be replaced, new marriages may follow, but the children are irreplaceable. Parents need to know what their options are before they can make the best decision for their children. There are several different child custody options utilized in Connecticut.

The first thing to remember when exploring the different child custody options is that the court has to make the final decision, and the court will do whatever it feels is in the best interest of the children. Normally, courts feel it is best if both parents are still significantly involved in the child’s life. This type of arrangement is called joint custody and is broken down into two parts: legal custody and physical custody. In joint custody both parents will have some percentage of time spent with the child and some level of control over the major decisions in the child’s life. The court will determine these percentages if the parents cannot come to an agreement about it on their own.

Sometimes there are circumstances that make joint custody either not reasonable or not in the best interest of the child. In these situations, the court may grant sole physical custody to one of the parents. Situations when this may happen include cases of abuse, incarceration, drug use, abandonment, relocation or mental illness. Although one parent may not have custodial rights to the child, he or she will usually still be granted visitation time.

Perhaps the best child custody option is an agreement designed by the parents and not determined by the court. If the parents are able to work together and come up with a custody arrangement on their own, the court will usually approve that agreement as long as it is in the best interest of the children. This is a great option because it is designed by those involved.

Laws relating to child custody vary from state-to-state. Therefore, it is imperative that parents in Connecticut familiarize themselves with Connecticut laws so they aren’t misled. The best way for parents to make sure they know their options is by seeking the help of an attorney that deals regularly with family law proceedings.   This will help them be prepared to make the best, most informed choices for their most precious treasures.