When you and the other parent of your children split up, protecting your parental rights is probably your top priority. You want to have access to and time with your children. You may also want to play a role in making decisions about their health care and their educations.
Asserting your parental rights will often require that you negotiate custody arrangements with your ex. If you can’t reach an amicable solution, then you may have to go to court to litigate. Generally, the courts want to do what’s best for the children, and a judge will usually try to arrange some kind of joint custody.
However, in some situations, a judge might limit your parental rights and responsibilities. When is that a possibility?
When there is proof of abuse or neglect
Have you faced accusations by state agencies before that you neglected your children? Have the police come to your house over abuse claims?
Both neglect and a history of abusive conduct can result in the courts limiting someone’s parental rights. Usually, one parent claiming that the other is negligent or abusive will need some kind of corroborating evidence for the courts to take their claim seriously.
When there are health issues that compromise a parent’s ability
Sometimes, people have medical issues that make them unable to fully provide for their children. Issues with epilepsy, for example, might leave a parent in a medically vulnerable position and unable to respond to a crying infant.
Someone undergoing chemotherapy or recovering from surgery may not be able to meet the needs of young children. Even addiction to alcohol or pain medication could be a medical issue that the courts have to consider when deciding how much parental authority and parenting time to delegate to you.
When you are in an unstable situation
Did you lose your job around the time your ex filed for divorce? Did you decide to crash on a buddy’s couch instead of renting an apartment? If you aren’t in a stable position in life that allows you to provide for the needs of your children, including their own rooms, the courts may not give you shared custody but rather allow you occasional visitation.
Learning more about what affects custody decisions in Connecticut and help you prepare for your hearings in court.