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Changes to Child Custody in Connecticut

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There are many reasons why a person may want to pursue a child custody modification in Connecticut. This includes modifications to reflect changes in residence, schedules, or an overall ability to provide care for a child. Additionally, changes to child custody are often sought whenever one parent may wish to move out of state or to a different area. Regardless of why a modification is being pursued, there are several critical components of Connecticut child custody modifications that individuals should be aware of.

Types of Child Custody

There are two broad categories of custodial arrangements in Connecticut: legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the rights and ability of a parent to make life decisions regarding the child. This could include decisions regarding medical treatments, religious upbringing, and what school the child attends. Legal custody is often shared between two ex-spouses but can be awarded solely to one parent under certain circumstances. Conversely, physical custody determines where a child will live. In many cases, physical custody is shared between two parents, allowing both parents to spend time with their child. Joint physical custody could be split up in several ways, including division based on the child’s academic calendar or days of the week.

Requirements to Change Child Custody

There are several forms that someone may need to complete to start the process of child custody modification. This includes a motion of modification, appearance form, and affidavit concerning children. These forms may require an individual to provide information about their address, income, and details about how they currently support the child.

“In addition to submitting forms, a person filing for a child custody modification will need to prove a significant change in circumstances,” said Attorney Matthew F. Dolan of Dolan Divorce Lawyers, PLLC. “While the way this is proven could change from case to case, individuals may also need to submit supporting documents that demonstrate the necessity of a modification.”

What Will the Court Consider When Changing Child Custody?

Once a child custody case goes to court, a judge will look at the evidence and determine if a child custody modification is warranted. At court, each parent may be given an opportunity to present evidence and testify to their position. Ultimately, Connecticut family judges will make a determination based on the needs and best interest of the child. To make this determination, a judge may examine factors such as the ability for parents to provide support, the physical and emotional needs of the child, and the desires of both parents and children. Additionally, a judge may also investigate any attempts by a parent to manipulate a child and allegations of neglect.

Can I Modify a Child Custody Order Without Going to Court?

Child custody orders cannot be modified without being approved by Connecticut family courts. This is because child custody orders are designed to serve the best interest of the child rather than the parents. Because of this, parents cannot independently change who has physical or legal custody of a child without the case being reviewed by a judge who will examine if the modification is in the best interest of the child.