Westport Child Custody Lawyer

Like most family law cases, child custody disputes involve complex issues. Family law is a complicated legal area, and these cases are often highly emotional. Parents involved in child custody disputes are often unaware of the many legal questions involved.

Beyond the legal questions, parents often worry how the custody dispute will affect their child. Such concerns sometimes lead parents to resolve custody issues out of court, without a family law attorney’s help. While some custody issues can be resolved with out of court agreements, it can difficult for a parent to assert their legal rights without a Westport child custody lawyer’s help. Such agreements may be appropriate in some cases, but not realistic in others.

Types of Custody

There are two types of child custody, physical and legal. Physical custody means providing a home and physical care for the child in a day-to-day manner. This can include making everyday decisions for the child, such as meals and participation in daily activities.

Physical custody means providing a home and physical care for the child in a day-to-day manner. This can include making everyday decisions for the child, such as meals and participation in daily activities.

Legal custody means making important decisions regarding the child’s health and wellbeing, such as religious, educational, and medical decisions. Divorced or unmarried parents may divide both physical and legal custody in many different ways. Sometimes, as a Westport child custody lawyer can explain, parents share both physical and legal custody.

Shared Custody

In those cases, both parents may have access to the child, and both parents have a say in important medical, legal, and religious decisions.  In other cases, there may be a “custodial parent,” who resides primarily with the child, and a non-custodial parent.

Even in cases where parents do not equally share physical custody, they may share legal custody. In many cases, the custodial parent will share physical and/or legal custody with the non-custodial parent. Such custody-sharing arrangements do not necessarily mean that each parent spends equal time with the child. A family’s unique circumstances always determines how custody is shared between the parents.

Deciding Custody

In Connecticut, the best interests of the child are the top priority when resolving child custody disputes. This means that the child’s needs, rather than the parents’ wishes, determine how custody will be divided.

If a custody case goes to court, a judge must consider certain factors when deciding what custody arrangements are in the child’s best interests. Section 46b-56 of the Connecticut General Statutes lists these factors, some of which include:

  • The child’s needs
  • Each parent’s ability to be actively involved in the child’s life
  • The child’s and each parent’s physical and mental health
  • The stability of the home each parent could provide
  • Whether domestic violence has occurred in the family

Common Issues in Disputes

Each custody case will present a unique set of challenges. Some common issues that a child custody lawyer in Westport can help with include:

  • Parental visitation
  • Custodial vs. non-custodial parents
  • Parenting plans
  • Co-parenting
  • Decision-making authority
  • Continuing healthy parent/child relationships
  • Child support
  • Child support agreements and enforcement
  • Grandparent visitation

Contact a Child Custody Attorney

A Westport child custody lawyer can help you determine whether your case can be resolved through a mutual agreement, instead of in court. Experienced child custody lawyers can advise you on any of these matters. They will work closely with you to help you resolve any custody-related issue.