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Child Custody

Different Types of Child Custody in Connecticut

Aug. 26th 2014


If you are divorcing your spouse and have children together, you probably have many questions regarding child custody. There are two types of custody that a divorced parent can have over his or her child – legal custody and physical custody. It is important to understand that legal custody is not the same as physical custody. Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make decisions about his or her child. On the other hand, physical custody refers to a parent’s right to have a child live with him or her. I will explore the different types of legal and physical custody that a Connecticut court may award a parent.

Oftentimes divorced parents will have joint legal custody of shared children. This means that, although no longer married, both parents will share the responsibility of raising shared children. Specifically, both parents have the right to make legal decisions pertaining to their children’s health, education, religion and activities. Joint legal custody is an attractive option if you and your ex-spouse get along and can communicate well. In Connecticut courts, joint legal custody is the default legal custody arrangement. Even so, you should carefully consider whether this option would work for you and your ex-spouse before agreeing on joint legal custody.

A court can also award sole legal custody to one of the parents. This typically happens only when one parent is abusive or clearly unfit to make sound legal decisions regarding their child. This is another option to be explored if you are divorcing your spouse and have children together.

There are also several kinds of physical custody that the court can award – sole custody, primary custody to one of the parents or shared physical custody. Having sole physical custody over your child means that your child lives with you full-time. A court can order visitation to the non-custodial parent, though. Courts will award sole physical custody to one of the parents if the other is unfit, abusive or neglectful. Additionally, a judge may grant sole physical custody to one parent if the other is an alcoholic or drug dependent. Generally, though, courts try to avoid granting a parent sole physical custody. Connecticut courts can also grant primary physical custody to either of the parents. When this occurs, the child lives primarily with the custodial parent and has visitation with the non-custodial parent. Shared (or joint) physical custody is another option that you should explore. A court may order this type of physical custody when the child spends a great deal of time with both of his or her parents and the parents live close to each other.

Each divorce and child custody case is different. For this reason, you should contact a Connecticut divorce lawyer to explain the options available in your situation.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Child Custody | Comments Off on Different Types of Child Custody in Connecticut