More Connecticut dads demanding equal parenting time
As time goes by, more and more fathers around the state are seeking joint or sole custody of their children, and rebutting the societal presumption that family courts are biased toward mothers.
Nowadays, the majority of households are made up of two working parents who share the responsibility for parenting (instead of the antiquated scenario in which the father was the breadwinner and the mother stayed at home to raise the children). As a result, many dads are no longer taking the proverbial backseat in custody arrangements, instead demanding equal parenting time in conjunction with divorce or legal separation proceedings.
The sad truth
This is not to say that some men don’t face an uphill battle when they step into court for a custody dispute. Though Connecticut’s child custody laws (found in Section 46b-56 and following of Chapter 815j of Connecticut Statutes) are written in a gender-neutral manner, there are some old-fashioned judges out there who still assume that “mother knows best” where child-rearing is concerned. Those judges might not be making their assumptions based on any sort of inherent bias or prejudice against fathers, but may genuinely believe they are acting in the best interests of the children involved, something that the law mandates they consider first and foremost.
No matter how misplaced or well-intentioned they may be, such presumptions that mothers are somehow more qualified to parent could very well prevent a father from enjoying a quality relationship with his children. This is true regardless of whether the parents are both from Connecticut or if the custodial parent moves to the state after the divorce or separation and child custody proceedings have begun. This scenario is relatively common for the family law attorneys at the Law Offices of James A. Cuddy, who have helped countless resident and non-resident parents over the years.
More about custody decisions
Every state has some form of custody provision in its law, and all of them turn on a key legal standard: the best interests of the children. In layman’s terms, this means that family court judges making custody determinations must do what is best for the child at all times. Judges can consider a wide range of factors when making a custody decision, though, including:
- Age and health of all parties involved (both parents and children)
- Special needs of the child or children
- Ability of each parent to meet the child’s physical, emotional/social and educational needs
- Preference of the child
- Preference of the parents (i.e. joint custody, sole physical custody, sole legal custody, etc.)
- Each parent’s historical relationship with the child
- Willingness of each party to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent
- Child’s adjustment to home, school, neighborhood, community, etc.
- Length of time the child has lived in a stable home environment
- Other factors the law and court deem necessary
As you can see, a family court judge making a custody or visitation decision has a heavy burden to bear. He or she must weigh these factors very carefully and act in such a way that the child’s best interests – both now and in the future – are protected. If you are a father or mother involved in a custody dispute, it is vitally important that you make a persuasive argument to the court. The health and welfare of your child are at stake, so contact the Law Offices of James A. Cuddy today.
Keywords: fathers rights, child custody, visitation, child support, “best interests of the child”