Child Custody Laws in Connecticut

mother and daughter walking

Child custody laws vary from state-to-state, and parents going through a separation or divorce will want to study up on what to expect in their state - in this case, Connecticut. Connecticut child custody laws will have a direct effect on the decisions made in your court case. Learning about these laws now will prepare you for the future, both during and after your custody arrangement has been determined.

The child's best interests help determine child custody in Connecticut

In most cases, Connecticut child custody laws allow parents parents to determine their own custody agreement as long as it is made in the best interests of their child. Parents can determine their own agreement with or without the help of an attorney or family law professionals, but a court will still review that agreement to ensure that it is within the child's best interests. Many different factors are used to make this determination including each parent’s ability to meet the needs of their child, to be involved actively in their child’s life, and to encourage the relationship between the child and their other parent. Connecticut courts consider it rather important that each parent is willing and actively encouraging of the child to have a relationship with their other parent. A court may grant less custody time to a parent who is less encouraging of this or who tends to involve the child in conflicts between parents.  While these are just a few important factors, a custody arrangement in Connecticut should be determined after considering all possible factors.

Both physical and legal custody must be determined in each Connecticut child custody case. Joint physical custody will give both parents significant, if not equal, time to have their child living with each of them. Joint legal custody will give both parents the right to make important decisions about the child’s life including education, healthcare and religion. Joint physical and legal custody will be granted to Connecticut parents under certain provisions. These provisions include settling on a living arrangement for the child based on the needs of all parties involved and coming to agreement on how the parents will consult one another about major decisions concerning the child.  Even if joint physical custody is not granted, Connecticut courts will often grant joint legal custody.

Other child custody arrangements in Connecticut

If a joint custody agreement is not reached, a Connecticut judge may order a sole custody arrangement. Sole physical custody will allow for the child to live solely with one parent, while the non-custodial parent may have adequate visitation rights. Sole legal custody will grant one parent full responsibility to make major decisions about the child's life. Although Connecticut courts generally prefer joint legal custody arrangements, a court will order sole legal custody if it is deemed to be in the child's best interests. A case where sole custody might be a good fit is one in which abuse is an issue.

If a parent is not granted physical custody, they may still be eligible for visitation rights. If a parent with physical custody is uncomfortable with the other parent having visits alone with the child, the custodial parent may ask that the judge orders supervised visitation. This would allow the non-custodial parent to spend time with their child under the supervision of someone such as another relative or even a family law professional. In many cases where supervised visitation is implemented, it is only temporary. If the supervised visitations go well, the judge may allow for future visitations to be unsupervised. A non-custodial parent in this situation may even find that they are granted more visitation time, or even custody, by the time the case is finalized. 

Once a final custody and/or visitation agreement is made, co-parents must find a way to communicate about the parenting schedule, important medical details, parenting expenses, and anything else having to do with their child and their agreement. To help facilitate communication, the OurFamilyWizard® website offers several tools that aim to keep parents connected while also reducing the opportunity for conflict,. The website creates a neutral, secure platform that the whole family can use to stay on top of everything that is relevant to your family.

This information is not to be used as legal advice. For additional information or legal guidance, please consult a Connecticut attorney or another family law professional. Visit our Connecticut resources page for a list of family law resources in your area. The OurFamilyWizard® website is committed to helping families communicate with less conflict by providing co-parents with the tools they need to easily manage the various aspects of their custody agreements.  


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.