Branford Divorce Involving Children

When considering the involvement of children in a Branford divorce, the standard applied is called “the best interest of the children.” Accordingly, in a divorce involving children, attorneys negotiate and work towards a fair and equitable parenting plan that takes into account the best interest of the kids. An experienced Branford divorce attorney works with their clients to keep as many decisions as possible in the hands of the parents.

The best way to avoid kids suffering when involved in a divorce relies on the parents themselves. Branford family lawyers step in to prevent one side or the other from using the kids as a negotiating tool in a divorce proceeding. If children are used as a tool, that impacts the relationship between children and the parents. Furthermore, if the court becomes aware of this happening, it can adversely affect custody arrangements.

Determining Custody

The best interest of the kids is the standard for determining custody of those children.  Normally, absent extenuating circumstances, a court will find that having both parents actively involved in the child’s life is in the best interest of the kids. However, if there is involvement from the Department of Children and Families, then arrests, substance abuse issues, and other issues that may involve one of the parents but perhaps not both, custody can shift to one parent or the other.

Child custody can be reached by parental agreement. If child custody is not reached by parental agreement, there will be court intervention to determine custody. The court may refer the case for review by the Family Relations Office. They might also instigate an evaluation and study by a guardian ad litem, which is an attorney that is appointed by the court to represented the best interest of the kids. The evaluator will make a recommendation to the court about the best interest of kids after which, a judge will determine what is in the best interest of the kids.

Custody Issues

The most common issues that arise in Branford divorce cases involving kids are the following:

  • Visitation schedule
  • Holiday schedule
  • Who has decision-making authority
  • Parental access
  • Child support costs
  • Payments for extracurricular activities
  • Payment of reimbursed medical expenses
  • Payment of qualified work related child care

Visitation and parental access plan issues can be avoided altogether if the parents work towards an agreement without the court getting involved. Generally, there is a statutory scheme in place that requires the non-residential parent to pay child support so the amount paid is not dictated by either parent, which can aid in avoiding conflict.

Many of the common issues involving children in Branford divorce cases can be avoided if all parties remember that, despite personal feeling for the other person, the decisions made for the children should be dictated by what is in the best interest of the children.