While there are many topics to negotiate when filing for divorce or legal separation in Connecticut, child custody may be one of the most overwhelming. It is often difficult to separate a family, especially when both parents want a different custody outcome.
In some cases, you may create a child custody agreement with your spouse through mediation without the help of the court. Other cases, however, require the judge to make the final decision.
What are the factors considered?
The court makes a custody decision based on the best interests of the child. In order to do so, the judge looks at certain factors to gain a clearer picture of each parent’s living situation. According to Connecticut state statutes, the court may consider one or more of the following factors when determining child custody:
- Each parent’s ability to meet the needs of the child
- Each parent’s past and current relationship with the child
- The medical, educational and developmental needs of the child
- The child’s access to school, church and community activities
- Each parent’s mental and physical health
The court will investigate whether any abuse occurred in the household and may listen to the wishes of the child. It will also look at which parent acted as primary caretaker and how adjusted the child is to his or her current environment.
What is custody modification?
Once the court sets child custody, it is not set in stone. Situations may arise that constitute a change in custody. Whether a parent moves a long distance, loses a job or is sent to prison, the court will adjust the parenting plan to accommodate a significant life change. Keep in mind that every change is made with the child’s best interest in mind, not for the convenience of parents.