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Southport Connecticut Family Law Blog

What factors do courts consider for custody and visitation?

Filing for divorce is difficult enough. It becomes substantially harder when the couple shares children and they must go through the process of determining child custody

Unless extenuating circumstances are present that would warrant one parent having sole custody, the court will need to decide what living arrangement is best for the child. It is possible for both parents to come together to create their own parenting arrangement. It will still need to go in front of a judge for approval, but it could be the best way to ensure everyone gets what they want. 

Can you keep your 401k?

As you enter into your divorce proceedings in Southport, you likely have already resigned yourself to the fact that you will likely lose (or at least see your ownership diminish in) some assets. You may not be ready, however, to include your 401k amongst them. While the contributions made to your retirement account during your marriage do come from marital income, they still came as a result of your individual effort. Thus, your desire to not divide them with your ex-spouse is understandable. There may even be a way for you to keep the entirety of your 401k account in your divorce settlement. 

The 401k Help Center suggests that if you want to retain your full 401k, you should consider giving up another asset to your spouse in exchange. The asset you relinquish your claim over, however, must be of comparable value. Finding such an asset may be more difficult than it sounds due to the complexities of trying to estimate exactly how much your 401k will be worth when you reach the age of retirement. 

How can I prepare for my custody hearing?

Even with an attorney's assistance, child custody hearings are often stressful for parents. Keep in mind you have the best chance of a successful result when you conduct yourself appropriately and come to the courthouse fully prepared for your hearing. That's why Very Well Family recommends these tips to present your case in a compelling and effective manner.  

Wear the right clothing

Pet custody in a divorce

For many people in Connecticut, a dog or a cat might be the fur baby of their dreams. Pets today are more and more looked upon as treasured members of a family, not just creatures that live in the barn or in the dog house in the corner of the back yard. While this can be very positive in most situations, it can make the decision about who gets the pet when a couple gets divorced very difficult. 

Rover.com explains that a divorce is not just hard on the spouses who are splitting up but also on the family pet. Dogs, for example, love their routines and can become quite upset when things get turned upside down. They might even have potty accidents or act out in other ways, much like a small child who is exhibiting emotional distress during a parental divorce.

Making your Connecticut parenting plan out of court

When parents can work together, the child benefits. This is especially true in the midst of a divorce.

Determining parenting time after a divorce is key, and a proper parenting plan is essential to accomplishing this. In cases where parents are on decent terms, it may be possible to create a parenting plan outside of court.

What types of adoption are available in Connecticut?

There are several different ways to add a new child to your family through the process of adoption. However, according to FindLaw, the laws that govern adoption vary by state. This means that the adoption methods available to parents in other states may not be legal in Connecticut. 

Adoption in Connecticut often takes place through an agency that facilitates the process. Either domestic or international adoptions can take place through an agency, though an individual agency may handle either one or the other exclusively. This is something that you should investigate prior to choosing to work with a particular agency.

Should you get a divorce or legally separate?

Connecticut residents like you who are considering splitting from your spouse have a number of options available. Today, Reich & Truax will discuss two of them: divorce and legal separation. They can provide unique benefits depending on how they're used and the situation they are used in.

Divorce is a permanent solution to irreconcilable differences in a marriage. There are several different grounds for which you can get a divorce in Connecticut, including intolerable cruelty or adultery. However, irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is the most common reason. After getting a divorce, you are free to remarry. Nothing ties you to your ex-spouse. You will no longer share healthcare, bank accounts, retirement funds, and marriage benefits.

Should you have an open or closed adoption?

If you are unable to have children of your own in Connecticut, you may be considering adoption. There are many avenues you can take with adoption, and using an agency is a popular choice for many parents. Whether you adopt an infant or an older child, you will be able to choose whether to have an open or closed adoption, so it is a good idea to know what each one means and their implications.

According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries, an open adoption is one in which the birth mother or parents are able to keep in contact, and even visit, with the adopted child after the adoption is final. An open adoption may include visitation rights for not only the natural parents, but also for a sibling or grandparents. In a closed adoption, the natural or adoptive parents do not share any identifying information, and there is no ongoing contact.

The difficulty involved in gaining third-party visitation

In Connecticut, it is not always blood ties and legal documents that make a family. At Reich & Truax, PLLC, we know that it is not only possible but fairly common for you to forge a close relationship with a child who is not genetically related to you. It may be a stepchild or the child of a long-term romantic partner from a previous relationship. You may have a grown son or daughter with stepchildren with whom you have shared a bond similar to the one you have with your biological or legally recognized grandchildren. In any case, even with a permanent disruption to the status quo, you may wish the relationship with the child to continue. 

In some cases, it may be possible for you to obtain visitation rights as a third party, but it is not easy. If the child's parent or legal guardian objects, the court is reluctant to grant visitation rights to nonrelatives. Though by no means guaranteed, the court may grant exceptions under the following circumstances: 

  • You can prove that the child's parent is unfit to make decisions for him or her.
  • You provided regular, consistent, unpaid care for the child while he or she was living with you.
  • You can demonstrate that preventing interactions between you and the child will cause him or her harm. 

The basics of stepparent adoption

When people marry someone with children in Connecticut, they usually take on a new role as a stepparent. Because they will have a parental role, some people may want to adopt their spouse's children. Before stepparents decide that adoption is the right path for their family, it is a good idea for them to consider the fine details of the process.

There are many reasons adoption may be a good idea for blended families. Considering Adoption says that adoption can allow people to act as legal parents for their stepchildren. This can be helpful if a stepparent needs to make medical decisions for one of the kids, for example. Sometimes adoption can also ensure that a health insurance plan covers the stepkids. However, it is important for people to understand that the children's other birth parent may have to give up parental rights. In this situation, the other parent usually needs to give his or her consent for the adoption to take place. 

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