Branford Child Custody Lawyer

Divorce can be a complex, emotional situation, substantially affecting the lives of all of the different people involved. This is especially true when children are involved and the court needs to determine a child custody arrangement. The most important consideration to be made, above all other interests, is what type of custody situation would be in the best interests of the child.

That is why parents going through a divorce owe it to themselves and their children to seek the help of an experienced Branford child custody lawyer who can advocate strongly for the best outcome given the child’s needs. To learn more or get started on your case, consult with a family law attorney in Branford today.

Types of Child Custody

Courts have a lot of factors to weigh in determining child custody decisions, from the child’s relationship to each parent to the location of the child’s school in relation to each parent’s residence. There are also different types of custody that can be awarded, depending on the circumstances which a Branford child custody attorney can assist with.

However, there are two distinctions that need to be made when discussing child custody. Physical custody means that a parent is awarded the right to have the child live with them. Legal custody, on the other hand, goes beyond the physical presence of the child in the home. If a parent is awarded legal custody, that means they have the legal authority to make decisions based on the child’s well-being, including education, health, and general questions of upbringing.

The court can award joint custody, both physical and/or legal, meaning that the parents will need to draw up a legal agreement about how they will both be involved in the child’s life. However, courts can also award sole physical and legal custody to one of the parents, especially in cases where one of the parents is proven to be unfit to raise the child (due to financial problems, drug problems, et cetera.)

Determining Legal Custody

The standard for determination in legal custody arrangements in Branford is what is in the best interest of the kids. When two people are married and have children, both parents names appear on the birth certificate and by default, have joint legal custody. When a divorce happens, a change in that can occur if particular motions are filed. Once motions are filed, if there is an agreement as to how the custody structure will work, then that will then become a court order.

If there is not an agreement, then an investigation will occur either by the office of Family Relations or a guardian ad litem. Based upon the investigation, the office of Family Relations or the guardian ad litem will make a recommendation to the court. Based on the testimony from the parties, testimony from the guardian ad litem, or advocates from Family Relations, the court will make a determination by the legal standard of what is in the best interest of the kids to determine who will have decision-making authority.

Custody Circumstances

If the divorcing parents have determined joint legal custody in Branford then both parents make the various decisions regarding their children. If one parent has sole custody, then that one parent makes the legal decisions. Even if there is joint legal custody, there could be an exception to that when there is a disagreement. One parent who has the joint custody can have final decision making, which means, if there is a disagreement between the two people that have joint legal custody, then one parent ultimately has the final say and makes the decision. Another alternative is it can be written into the custody stipulation that any disagreements can be decided by a third party such as a mediator, counselor, therapist or the parties can seek court approval.


Guardianship in Branford is appointed through a probate court, not through family court, and usually, arises in a situation where the two parents are not acting in the best interest of the child. Some examples include an incarcerated parent, a parent with significant mental health issues, or a parent who is not around. In those types of cases, a third party non-parent can become a guardian. The guardian can be appointed by the court, agreed upon by the parents, another family member, or the state could have guardianship.

Benefits of Legal Representation

Child custody cases are among the most difficult and emotional cases that courts have to decide. It is important for courts making child custody decisions to have all the information necessary to ensure the best interests of the child are protected.

In order for this to occur, a person going through a child custody case needs a strong legal advocate to present their case to the court in a way that would ensure the best outcome possible for all those involved. A Branford child custody lawyer can understand the complexities of child custody decisions, down to the details of establishing parenting plans and time-sharing schedules, if necessary. Child custody attorneys can also serve as a line  of communication between parents, in order to facilitate the process as smoothly as possible.

How a Child Custody Attorney Can Help

If you are separating legally or physically from the parent of your child, it is important you protect your interests as well as the best interests of your child by retaining the assistance of a Branford child custody attorney.

There is a lot at stake in child custody cases, and experienced child custody attorneys in Branford understand the many nuanced facets of child custody settlements, which works greatly in your favor in such a complicated and emotional time.