When considering a child custody arrangement, Connecticut family courts always try to determine what is in the child’s best interest. What really does “in the child’s best interest” mean? There are several factors that are considered when determining the best child custody arrangement for a child.

The first consideration is whether a parent has the ability to raise a child. This includes providing both physical and emotional needs. In addition to being able to provide basic human needs such as food and clothing, a judge is more likely to approve the custody by a parent who has been an uninterrupted active participant in the child’s life and has shown an interest in the child’s activities and development. The parent’s physical and mental abilities will also be considered.

Stability for the child is a big consideration. It is important that the child be able to stay in the same area where he or she has lived and formed friendships. The child should be able to continue attending the same school and extracurricular activities. As much as possible of the child’s routine should be kept uninterrupted. Relocating is rarely approved by the court unless it can be proven that the move would benefit the child in a significant way such as a better school or child care.

If a child is old enough, the court will consider his or her preferences regarding the custody arrangement. It will also consider the safety of the child. The child’s safety is of utmost importance, and the court will not approve a custody arrangement that puts the child in a potentially dangerous situation. The court will also avoid any custody arrangement that prevents one parent from actively participating in the child’s life. As long as safety isn’t a concern, the child will have time with both parents so that a close, involved relationship with both parents can continue.

Connecticut family courts focus on what will allow the child to maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle as close to the one he or she formerly enjoyed, while maintaining an involved, loving, nurturing relationship with both parents as much as possible. The needs of the child will always come first. An experienced family law attorney can assist a parent in exploring his or her rights and determining what child custody arrangement will best benefit the family’s circumstances.