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Is joint custody always the outcome of a Connecticut divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Family law |

Custody concerns are often the biggest issue in Connecticut divorces. Parents worry about what their divorce might mean for their children and how their relationship with their children may change after the end of their marriages.

Most people do not enjoy the thought of spending 50% of their time or more away from their children, but that is the reality for those in co-parenting or shared custody arrangements. When parents share custody, their children travel between houses and spend time with both parents. The adults typically also have to agree on major decisions for the children, such as what medical care they receive.

Some parents might prefer sole custody where the children stay with them and perhaps have parenting time with their other parent only on occasion. Is joint custody of foregone conclusion in Connecticut divorce with minor children?

The state assumes joint custody is best

According to Connecticut state statutes, all custody decisions should prioritize the best interests of the children. The law even establishes a presumption that joint custody is what is best for the children. A parent seeking sole custody needs compelling evidence to overcome that presumption. Abuse, neglect and an inability to functionally parent could all impact the court’s custody decisions.

Documenting significant incidents of domestic violence can help someone protect their children from a volatile parent. Medical records of injuries sustained due to neglect and possibly even witness testimony could help establish that the children may not be safe in the home of one parent. Proof of an unstable home environment or other dangers, such as evidence of serious addiction issues, is usually necessary to prevail during custody litigation.

A parent seeking sole custody usually either needs the cooperation of the other parent or very compelling evidence to overcome the statutory presumption that joint custody is best for the children. Those who seek sole custody without proper evidence or justification might actually put themselves at risk of a less favorable custody outcome, as judges may view that as a sign that a parent cannot put the best interests of the children first. Many parents find ways to make joint custody work for them. They communicate through parenting apps and put together thorough parenting plans that help minimize conflict.

Regardless of a parent’s situation, understanding what the courts prioritize during custody litigation may help them obtain the best outcome on behalf of their kids.