Child custody cases are rarely a winner-takes-all scenario. Both parents end up sharing responsibility for the upbringing of the children after divorce in most cases, which is commonly referred to as joint custody. It means you are likely to share legal and physical custody of your children.
Connecticut child custody laws prioritize the child’s best interests and custody arrangements must reflect that. The law presumes that children benefit significantly from consistent involvement and support from both parents post-divorce, which is what joint custody is all about.
Does the court ever deviate from joint custody?
Sharing parenting time and responsibilities may be the preferred custody arrangement in Connecticut, but it all boils down to the specific circumstances of each case. The custody arrangement may be adjusted to suit the situation if there are issues that could pose risks or challenges to the child’s well-being.
For instance, the court may limit or prevent a parent’s interaction with the child after divorce due to factors like:
- A history of domestic violence
- Untreated mental illness
- Substance abuse issues
In other words, situations where one parent is deemed unfit or unable to provide a safe environment for the child can result in one parent being awarded sole legal or physical custody, or both.
That being said, the court does not make such decisions lightly. There must be strong evidence or documented proof substantiating claims that a parent poses a threat to the child’s well-being for the court to deviate from joint custody.
It’s important to note that joint custody does not always translate to a perfectly equal time split between the parents. The court tailors custody arrangements based on what is most beneficial for the child. Things like school schedules, the child’s preferences if they are of an appropriate age and the geographical proximity of parents’ residences may weigh in the court’s decisions.
Seeking legal guidance to navigate the complexities of the situation and safeguard your interests as a parent is crucial. It can help you understand your rights, gather relevant evidence and advocate for a custody arrangement that prioritizes your child’s well-being while safeguarding your role as a parent.