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Fairfield County Child Custody Lawyer

As a parent, your number one priority is providing a safe, stable environment for your child to live in, and giving them every opportunity possible to thrive. Unfortunately, divorce can impact a parent’s ability to do so, but it doesn’t have to; with effective co-parenting and productive mediation services, you can potentially reach a custody agreement that preserves your child’s best interests post-divorce. Contact a seasoned Fairfield County child custody lawyer from The Law Offices of Eric R. Posmantier, LLC today.

Child Custody Lawyer | Representing Families in Fairfield County and All of CT

Child custody matters are complex, both on a legal and an emotional level, which is why these issues should never be faced without a competent and compassionate Fairfield County family lawyer in your corner. The Law Offices of Eric R. Posmantier, LLC has extensive experience representing clients through both mediated and litigated custody disputes, and we’re prepared to effectively represent you as well.

Physical Vs. Legal Custody in Connecticut

Connecticut recognizes two primary types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. When parents cannot reach an agreement on a custody arrangement, courts will consider several factors and determine each parent’s entitlement to physical and legal custody of their child. Physical custody determines where the child resides, while legal custody pertains to decision-making authority regarding the child's upbringing. Parents may share both forms of custody, or one parent may hold primary physical custody with shared legal custody.

Factors Considered When Determining Child Custody in Connecticut

The court must consider the “best interests of the child” in making and modifying custody orders. Pursuant to Connecticut General Statute § 46b-56, in determining the best interests of the child, the court may consider, but shall not be limited to, one or more of the following factors:

  • The temperament and developmental needs of the child;
  • The capacity and the disposition of the parents to understand and meet the needs of the child;
  • Any relevant and material information obtained from the child, including the informed preferences of the child;
  • The wishes of the child’s parents as to custody;
  • The past and current interaction and relationship of the child with each parent, the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the best interests of the child;
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage such continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent as is appropriate, including compliance with any court orders;
  • Any manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parents’ dispute;
  • The ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child;
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community environments;
  • The length of time that the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity in such environment, provided the court may consider favorably a parent who voluntarily leaves the child’s family home pendente lite in order to alleviate stress in the household;
  • The stability of the child’s existing or proposed residences, or both;
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability of a proposed custodial parent or other party, in and of itself, shall not be determinative of custody unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interests of the child;
  • The child’s cultural background;
  • The effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if any domestic violence has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual or the child;
  • Whether the child or a sibling of the child has been abused or neglected, as defined respectively in section 46b-120; and
  • Whether the party satisfactorily completed participation in a parenting education program established pursuant to section 46b-69b.

Our legal team provides comprehensive guidance to parents, helping them navigate the complexities of custody proceedings with the goal of achieving a custody arrangement that best serves the child's interests.

We work closely with clients to present a compelling case that addresses these factors, aiming to secure a favorable custody arrangement. That said, often, we find the best way to reach a custody agreement is through mediation, instead of litigation, as it is often less costly, more private, and less contentious.

Creating a Parenting Plan

Creating a workable parenting plan can often be the most emotional and difficult part of a divorce process. Our firm works to help resolve parenting disputes as quickly and painlessly as possible.

In our firm, we insist on not referring to parenting time as “visitation,” even though that is the term referenced in the applicable statute. Generally, a parent is not, and should not be deemed a “visitor” in a child’s life. The specific words used can matter, especially to a young child. “It’s time for Daddy’s (or Mommy’s) visitation” will land very differently on a child than “It’s time for Daddy’s or Mommy’s parenting time.”

Pursuant to Connecticut General Statute § 46b-56a, a proper parenting plan may include the following:

  • A schedule of the physical residence of the child during the year;
  • Provisions allocating decision-making authority to one or both parents regarding the child’s health, education and religious upbringing;
  • Provisions for the resolution of future disputes between the parents, including, where appropriate, the involvement of a mental health professional or other parties to assist the parents in
  • reaching a developmentally appropriate resolution to such disputes;
  • Provisions for dealing with the parents’ failure to honor their responsibilities under the plan;
  • Provisions for dealing with the child’s changing needs as the child grows and matures; and
  • Provisions for minimizing the child’s exposure to harmful parental conflict, encouraging the parents in appropriate circumstances to meet their responsibilities through agreements, and protecting the best interests of the child.

Child Custody Mediation

Child custody mediation in Connecticut offers a collaborative approach to resolving custody disputes. This method involves a neutral mediator who assists parents in creating a parenting plan that serves the best interests of the child. Mediation is especially beneficial as it focuses on effective communication, mutual respect, and the establishment of a practical and workable custody arrangement. Some of the most notable benefits of child custody mediation are as follows:

  • Mediation fosters communication: Mediation encourages open, honest dialogue, helping parents understand each other's perspectives.
  • Mediation offers customizable solutions: Mediation allows parents to develop tailored agreements that consider the unique needs of their children.
  • Mediation is more cost-effective: Mediation is often more affordable than traditional litigation, reducing financial stress for families.
  • Mediation offers confidentiality: Mediation ensures family matters remain private, as opposed to public court records.
  • Mediation offers speed and flexibility: Mediation is generally quicker than court proceedings, with flexible scheduling according to parents' availability.
  • Mediation is less contentious: Typically, mediation reduces hostility by promoting cooperative problem-solving.
  • Mediation focuses on the best needs of the child: Perhaps most importantly, mediation keeps the child's well-being as the central concern, avoiding adversarial court battles.

The Custody Mediation Process

The process of child custody mediation in Connecticut typically involves:

  • Selecting a mediator: Parents jointly choose a neutral, qualified professional who has extensive experience mediating custody-related issues.
  • Attending an initial meeting: The mediator meets with both parents to outline the process and gather information about the family dynamics and the children's needs.
  • Negotiating child custody terms: Over several sessions, the mediator facilitates discussions, helping parents explore various custody and visitation options.
  • Developing a workable parenting plan: Parents, with the mediator's guidance, create a detailed plan covering living arrangements, holidays, education, healthcare, and other pertinent aspects.
  • Finalizing the arrangement: Once an agreement is reached, the mediator drafts a document for both parents to review. After mutual consent, this agreement is submitted to the court for approval.

We have extensive experience in guiding parents through the mediation process. We understand the nuances of Connecticut family law and prioritize the best interests of your child while striving to achieve a resolution that respects the needs of all parties involved. Our attorneys can provide legal advice during mediation and ensure that the final agreement is fair and legally sound.

For parents seeking a constructive, non-adversarial way to resolve child custody issues, mediation can be an ideal solution. Our firm is committed to helping you navigate this process with the utmost care and professionalism.

Modifying Child Custody in Connecticut

Post-divorce, circumstances can change, necessitating custody modifications. For a court to consider such changes, significant alterations in the living situation or the child's needs must be demonstrated. A parent seeking modification must prove that these changes are in the child's best interests. Some circumstances that may warrant a modification to a child custody agreement are as follows:

  • One parent develops a substance abuse issue
  • One parent exposes the child or the other parent to an act of domestic violence
  • One parent has been incarcerated
  • One parent has put the child in danger or otherwise is parentally unfit
  • One parent becomes incapable of providing a safe, stable environment for their child
  • The child’s needs have changed

These are just some situations that may warrant a modification to a custody agreement in Connecticut; if you believe you have valid grounds to request sole custody or a different custody arrangement, you mustn’t proceed without a competent child custody lawyer in your corner.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer Today

Here at The Law Offices of Eric R. Posmantier, LLC, we are dedicated to helping parents reach amicable, reasonable solutions that safeguard the well-being of their children. Contact a Fairfield County child custody lawyer from our legal team today so we can get started working on your case.

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