The Best Interest of the Child

Divorce, Custody, and Support: How the Courts Decide

Any decision involving the children in a divorce will be based upon the best interest of the child. What exactly does this mean to you and your children? As each family is as unique as the people involved, the decisions made by the court can vary widely, from an order for shared custody, through to restricted access to the children, as well as varying amounts paid for support. Children of different ages have very different needs, and the matters involving child custody, support and visitation will be decided based on a standard of the best interest of the child. Although the rights, wishes, and desires of the parents will be considered, the decisions made are controlled by this standard. Joint custody is believed to be most beneficial for the children in most cases, and non-parents do not have the same rights with regard to custody unless it is fully established that this would be detrimental to the child if a parent had custody.

The Standard of Best Interest of the Child

  • The temperament and needs of the child;
  • The ability of each parent, both in capacity and disposition to understand and meet those needs;
  • Preferences that the child may communicate, or other information;
  • The parent's wishes in custody arrangements;
  • The former and current family interaction that could significantly impact the best interest of the child;
  • Issues regarding the willingness and ability of both parents to encourage the parent-child relationship with the other parent, including compliance with a court order issued;
  • Any act by a parent to manipulate or coerce the child or involve the child in a dispute;
  • The actual ability of each parent to be involved in the child's life;
  • Adjustment to home, school, and community, if any changes are made;
  • Stability of home life in any proposed residence;
  • Mental and physical health of the child and the parents in each case;
  • Cultural background;
  • Whether there has been a case of domestic violence;
  • Whether there has been evidence of abuse or neglect to the child or another child in the home;
  • Whether the party has completed parenting education.

There are several types of custody that could be ordered. These include joint custody, in which both parents are involved in decision-making and when physical custody is shared reasonably, allowing for ongoing contact with each parent. Sole custody allows one parent the ultimate authority to make decisions about the child's welfare, education, religion and medical care. Third-party custody is awarded when it is determined that the child would actually be in some type of danger if in the custody of a parent or the parents. These could include cases in which a parent has neglected a child, is involved in criminal activities, abuse, or other serious situation.

Child Custody in Connecticut and the Best Interest of the Child

There are many issues to consider when taking a child custody case to court. At Jowdy & Jowdy we are up-to-date on existing case law and the standards that are used to make a decision about these critical issues. It is advised that you contact our firm to discuss your situation and we can review the details and help you make an informed decision about how to best proceed. It is crucial that your case is presented carefully, is fully supported by evidence and documentation, and that we have the necessary witnesses to support your request for custody. We have decades of experience in child custody litigation and are very skilled in presenting a case to the court that has a better chance of success. We know how important your children, their health, and happiness are to you, and we do all we can to help you pursue your objectives with regard to custody and support. Our firm's track record of success speaks for itself.

Contact Jowdy & Jowdy for information about how the standard of best interest of the child could impact a court decision regarding custody.

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