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Pursuant to Connecticut law, child custody can be legal or physical, one (legal custody) dictating the decision-making authority over important issues in their child’s life, such as religious upbringing, education, and medical care while the other (physical custody) addresses where the child spends their time and in what proportion between the two parents. The primary components of child custody in Connecticut are legal decision-making and how much time the child spends with each parent.
In many situations, parents may not have an equal footing as some may be considered custodial and non-custodial parents in Fairfield County. While parents retain many rights to their children, the efficacy of their rights depends on the classification of their custody. A compassionate custody lawyer could help explain the differences between the two options and help you fight for your rights as a parent.
The custodial parent (or primary custodial parent) is typically the parent with whom the child spends the majority of their physical time, especially during the weekdays. If a child is mainly with one parent Monday through Friday, the parents alternate weekends, and the other parent has an evening with the child during the week, the custodial parent would be the one who is responsible for the child Monday through Friday. This parent would have a disproportionate amount of physical time with the child. Being the custodial parent does not mean that the other parent does not have time with their child or retain rights to make decisions in their life.
However, a parent with sole legal custody legally gets to decide or has tie-breaking authority over major decisions in the child’s life. Being a child’s sole legal custodian does not mean that the other parent does not have access to the child’s information, is not allowed to have input during the decision-making process, or does not see the child. A parent with sole legal custody in Fairfield County does not have to agree with the other parent to make major decisions for the child.
The rights and responsibilities of the custodial parent vary from case to case but they typically have more physical time with the child and may have more decision-making responsibilities. A custodial parent may also have some obligation to appropriately involve or seek input from the child’s other parent.
In Connecticut, a non-custodial parent might have a lesser role in the decision-making process (as pertaining to legal custody) or it may simply mean that the child primarily resides with the other parent (as pertaining to physical custody). Noncustodial parents might have slightly or significantly more time with the child than the other parent, or one parent might be designated as a noncustodial parent based on where the child is enrolled in the school. The parenting plan might designate one parent as the custodial parent for the purpose of using that parent’s address to enroll the child in a particular school if the parents reside in different school districts.
Being designated as a noncustodial parent is often dependent on the particular facts and circumstances at play, such as how much time and decision-making that parent already exercises with respect to the child. If it is unclear what the rights of a non-custodial parent in Fairfield County are, an experienced custody lawyer could help explain exactly what each parent is permitted to do.
A non-custodial parent in Fairfield County could have many of the same rights and responsibilities as any parent. Even though noncustodial parents might not physically see their children as much during the week, they still have a right to information about their children and to help make decisions for them. Similarly, if one parent is not the legal custodian or is not allowed to participate equally in certain decisions regarding their child, it does not also mean that they will automatically see the child significantly less.
Parents have a right to be informed about their child and to have input about what goes on in their child’s life. They should have parenting time to whatever degree with the child. Being a noncustodial parent primarily means that that parent does not have tie-breaking authority if there is a legal decision to be made for their child.
The purpose of child custody is to determine and establish schedules and rules for how the parents should co-parent their child. Child custody could be outlined in a court order for parents who are divorcing, have been divorced, or were never married. Issues such as visitation, important decisions in the child’s life, and many other aspects could be part of a custody agreement and an attorney could help you protect your rights in these situations and ensure you have a proper role in your child’s life and upbringing. If you have further questions about the rights and responsibilities of custodial and non-custodial parents in Fairfield County, call an attorney today to learn more.