One of the biggest challenges of divorcing or separating if you have minor children in your family is figuring out a way to co-parent. Those who have young children at home often find negotiating a custody arrangement to be very stressful and emotional.
Both parents usually want to spend as much time as they can with the children, and they may also want to have control over major decisions, such as where a child goes to school or what medical treatment they receive. Judges putting together custody orders in Connecticut (for litigated cases) try to set terms that they believe would be in the best interests of the children, but unfortunately that may mean that the parents are dissatisfied with those terms.
The only way to alter a custody order without risking enforcement consequences is to seek a formal custody modification. You and your child’s other parent can agree to terms (at any time) and formalize them with the court’s assistance or you can litigate your differences. When is a contested modification hearing a possibility for a parent in Connecticut?
After a significant family change
Some states require that parents wait a set amount of time after the creation of a custody order to request a modification. The good news for parents in Connecticut is that no such statutory restrictions apply to custody modifications here. Instead, the most important consideration for the courts will be whether or not the circumstances warrant a modification request. In litigated matters, there will need to have been some kind of significant change to the family’s situation. A change in schedule, health or relationship dynamics could be an adequate reason to request a modification.
In a case involving a disagreement, a contested modification would require a judge’s review. Just like during standard custody litigation, a judge hearing a litigated modification request will focus primarily on what would be in the best interests of the children. They may or may not grant a parent’s request to change the terms of the custody order based on what they believe would benefit the children.
Alternatively, parents can request a modification through mutual agreement. If they both realize that changes would benefit their children, they can move forward with an uncontested modification filing.
Seeking legal guidance and learning more about the rules that apply to custody orders and modifications to them may help parents more successfully navigate the family court system in Connecticut regardless of what their unique circumstances entail.