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The 90 Day Waiting Period: Custody and Visitation

Custody

 Joint custody means that both parents make the major decisions in a child’s life  together, like the child’s education, religious upbringing, or major medical care. Daily decisions like bedtime or what the child will wear are usually made by the parent who is with the child at the time. Joint custody does not mean that the child must live half the time with one parent and half the time with the other.

 Sole custody means that the child will live primarily with one parent. That parent has the final decision-making responsibility for the child and is called the custodial parent. The custodial parent may, however, consult with the noncustodial parent. Usually, the judge will make sure the child has ongoing contact, or visitation, with the noncustodial parent.

Visitation (Also called parenting time or access)

 Reasonable visitation means you and your spouse want to arrange parenting time with your child yourselves. This works well when the parents and the child do not need a fixed schedule, and both parents are flexible and agreeable. Some judges may require you to prepare a written plan.

 Fixed schedule visitation means setting definite hours during the week for the child to spend time with the noncustodial parent. Fixed schedules can include overnight visits, weekends, weekday evenings, and sharing holidays, school vacations, and summers.

 Supervised visitation means that some responsible adult must be present when the child is visiting a parent. The judge may order supervised visitation if the safety of the child is a concern.

 A no contact order means that the noncustodial parent may not see the child because the judge has decided contact with the parent is not in the child’s best interest.

 TIP: Joint custody works best if both parents are able to discuss what is best for their child.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The 90-Day Waiting Period: Divorce and Children’s Issues

Attend Parenting Education Classes

 If you have children, you must take part in a court-approved parenting education program. You must do this within 60 days of the Return Date on your Summons. The required form and a list of court approved parenting education program providers are available at the court clerk’s office, at the Judicial Branch’s CSSD Family Services Office, at the Court Service Center, and on the Judicial Branch website at http://www.jud.ct.gov.

 Special Issues with Children

 If you and your spouse have children, it is very important to make a parenting plan to work out parenting responsibilities. Your plan should address custody and visitation. A judge will decide custody based on what the judge thinks is in the best interest of the child. Usually these orders are the result of agreements between the parents about where the children will live and how much time they will spend with each parent.

 The amount and type of visitation (also called parenting time or access) may depend on the age of your child and how close you live to the other parent. Visitation may also depend on the kind of relationship you and the other parent have with your child.

 Financial support of your child is also important. You and your spouse should try to agree on child support payments, your responsibilities for medical and health insurance, and for medical bills not covered by insurance.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Facts About Divorce’s Impact on Children

Facts

  •  About 40 percent of all children in the United States today are children of divorced parents; 20 to 25 percent of them show signs that they are not dealing well with this change in their family structure and are at risk for negative outcomes, including substance abuse.

                  

  • Children of divorced parents are more likely to engage in substance use and have substance-using friends than children from two-parent homes.

                         

  • In one study, 54 percent of sixth and seventh graders with divorced parents use alcohol compared to 36 percent of children with parents who never divorced.

                         

  • Forty-nine percent of premarital cohabitations are likely to break up within 5 years, compared to 10 percent of those in a first marriage; 62 percent of cohabitations end after 10 years, while the chance of a first marriage ending at that point is 33 percent.

                         

  • In 2005, an estimated 680,000 youths (2.7 percent) aged 12 to 17 had ever been in foster care.

 

  • Youths who have ever been in foster care had higher rates of past year use of any illicit drug than those who were never in foster care (33.6 vs. 21.7 percent). The rate of past year alcohol use was similar for these two groups.

 

  • Youths who have ever been in foster care had higher rates of need for substance abuse treatment than youths who have never been in foster care. More youths who have ever been in foster care were in need of treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use in the past year (17.4 percent) compared with youths who have never been in foster care.

 

  • Two out of three children placed in foster care are reunited with their birth parents within 2 years. But a significant number spend long periods of time in foster care while waiting for adoption or other permanent arrangements

 

  • The Orphan Foundation of America estimates that more than 25,000 foster youth age out of State care or run away every year. (Estimates from several other government and private sources range from 20,000 to 30,000.)

 

  • In the only nationally representative study of youth discharged from foster care that has been published (1991, based on 1988 data), 39 percent were emotionally disturbed, 50 percent had used illegal drugs, and 25 percent were involved with the legal system.
 
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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Child Protection Mediation, Part III

How is a Case Referred?

  •  Cases may be referred at any time in the case after it is filed
  • A case may be referred in court, at a case management conference, or at a case status conference

  

The Process Includes:

  •  Completing the intake process with a Court Services Officer
  • Obtaining the Judge’s approval

  

The Intake/Referral Process Includes:

  •  Completing the intake/referral form
  • Selecting a mediation team
  • Signing an agreement to participate in mediation and a confidentiality agreement
  • Scheduling a date to return to court

  

What Happens After the Mediation Session?

 If the parties reach an agreement, the parties put the agreement in writing. The agreement is then reviewed in court by the judge and, if approved, made part of the decision of the case. If the parties do not reach an agreement, they go back to court for the court to handle.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Child Protection Mediation, Part I

What is Child Protection Mediation?

             Child protection mediation is a voluntary program that tries to solve problems without taking sides.

             The program is designed to add to Order of Temporary Custody Neglect Termination of Parental Rights and other types of case conferences involved with child protection.

  Child Protection Mediation is:

  •  Purely voluntary
  • Confidential
  • Held only if all parties to the case agree
  • Referred by the court, not ordered by the court
  • Designed to cover any issues in dispute

  Locations and Telephone Numbers:

  •  Juvenile Matters at Bridgeport, (203) 579-6544
  • Juvenile Matters and Child Protection Session at Danbury,  (203) 797-4407
  • Juvenile Matters at Hartford, (860) 244-7900
  • Juvenile Matters at Middletown, (860) 344-2986
  • Child Protection Session at Middletown, (860) 343-6456
  • Juvenile Matters at New Britain, (860) 515-5165
  • Juvenile Matters at New Haven, (860) 786-0337
  • Juvenile Matters at Norwalk, (203) 866-9275
  • Juvenile Matters at Rockville, (860) 872-7143
  • Juvenile Matters at Stamford, (203) 956-5708
  • Juvenile Matters at Torrington, (860) 489-0201
  • Juvenile Matters at Waterbury, (203) 596-4202
  • Juvenile Matters at Waterford, (860) 440-5880
  • Juvenile Matters and Child Protection Session at Willimantic, (860) 456-5700
 
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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A Father’s Rights During Divorce: Parenting Education

 PARENTING EDUCATION

CGS § 46b-69b requires the Family Division of the Judicial Branch to establish a parenting education program to educate people on the impact on children of the restructuring of families. The program must include information on the developmental stages of children, the adjustment of children to parental separation, dispute resolution and conflict management, visitation guidelines, stress reduction for children, and cooperative parenting.

The court must order any party to a family relations dispute to participate in the parenting education program unless: (1) the parties agree, with the court’s approval, not to participate; (2) the court determines that participation is not necessary; or (3) the parties select and participate in a comparable parenting education program.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A Father’s Rights During Divorce: The Best Interest Standard and Joint Custody Presumption

BEST INTEREST STANDARD

            In any family relations case, including dissolutions, the court is authorized to require an investigation of the circumstances of the child and family and cannot if it orders one, dispose of the case until the investigation report has been filed (CGS § 46b-6 and 7). The investigation can include the child’s parentage and surroundings; his age, habits, and history; the home conditions, habits, and character of his parents; an evaluation of his physical and mental condition; the cause of the marital discord; and the parties’ financial ability to provide support. The court may also appoint counsel for any minor child when it deems it to be in the child’s best interest (CGS § 46b-54).

            The court can make and modify any order regarding custody, care, support, or visitation (CGS § 46b-56). It can assign custody to the parents jointly, to either parent, or to a third party “according to its best judgment upon the facts of the case and subject to such conditions and limitations as it deems equitable.” In making or modifying such an order the court must “(1) be guided by the best interests of the child, giving consideration to the wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capable of forming an intelligent preference, provided in making the initial order the court may take into consideration the causes for dissolution of the marriage or legal separation if such causes are relevant in determination of the best interest of the child and (2) consider whether the party satisfactorily completed participation in a parenting education program.”

JOINT CUSTODY PRESUMPTION

            Joint custody is defined as an order awarding legal custody to both parents, providing for joint decision-making by the parents, and requiring that physical custody be shared by the parents so as to ensure the child has continuing contact with both parents (CGS § 46b-56a). The court can award joint legal custody without awarding joint physical custody if the parents agree to it.

            The statute establishes a presumption that joint custody is in the child’s best interest, if the parents have so agreed. In such a case, if the court denies a joint custody award, it must state in its decision why it did so. If only one parent seeks joint custody, the court can order both parties to submit to conciliation at their own expense with the costs allocated between them based on ability to pay and as determined by the court.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A Father’s Rights During Divorce: Overview

 SUMMARY

Fathers have the same legal rights as mothers in divorce cases involving child custody. Judges use the “best interest of the child” standard in awarding custody of minor children. If both parents agree, the statutes establish a presumption of joint custody. But testimony and other evidence can rebut this presumption.

Disputes about violations of custody orders are resolved by bringing the matter to the attention of the Superior Court, which has jurisdiction over such disputes. The court can use its mediation services to help resolve disputes, but ultimately it decides what the facts are and can modify a custody order or hold parents in contempt of court for violating custody orders.

Someone who believes the Superior Court treated him unfairly can appeal the decision to the Appellate Court, which can review the transcripts and other court records, receive written arguments from each side in the form of legal briefs, and hear oral arguments. Some disputes can ultimately reach the state Supreme Court.

A person who feels a Superior Court judge treated him in an unfair and unprofessional manner can also file a complaint against the judge with the Judicial Review Council. This Council has the authority to investigate complaints to determine whether the judge acted in accordance with the rules governing judicial conduct. If not, it can reprimand or censor the judge.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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More Information on Parenting Education Programs

HOW MUCH DOES THE PROGRAM COST?

 Participation in a parenting education program costs $125 per person. You must pay the program provider directly. The fee is not paid to the court. If you cannot afford the fee, complete an Applica­tion for Waiver of Fees form (JD-FM-75) and file it with the clerk. If you are in court when you are ordered to attend a program, and you are unable to afford the fee, you may request that the fee be waived at that time.

 HOW LONG IS THE PROGRAM?

 Parenting education programs are six hours. The program may be offered in two three hour classes, or in three two hour classes. Check with the program provider about the schedule.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PARTICIPANTS

 In order to participate in a parenting education program you must make the arrangements your­self. Following is a list of the programs approved by the court. You can attend any program in the state. You must call the program provider directly to obtain specific information concerning dates, times, and locations of the classes as well as the registration procedures and fee arrangements. Be sure to tell them if you have been ordered to complete the program by a certain date. Remember to bring the parenting education certification form with you to the first class.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Information About Parenting Education Programs

What are Parenting Education Programs?

             Parenting education programs are classes designed to educate adults about the many issues children face when their family situation changes. The pro-grams train participants about how to help children adjust in a healthy way to divorce or living apart from a parent. The programs include information about children’s developmental stages, helping children adjust to parent separation, cooperative parenting, conflict management and dispute  resolution techniques, guidelines for visitation and parent access, and stress reduction for children.

             If you have children under age eighteen, you must participate in a parenting education program with-in sixty (60) days after a family case is filed in court. All parties involved in divorce, dissolution of a civil union, annulment, separation, custody or visitation cases are required by law to participate in a parent­ing education program. Both judges and family support magistrates have the authority to order your participation in the program.

IMPORTANT:

             All parties may attend the same parenting education class, but you do not have to. Tell the program provider when you call to register if you want to be in a different class from any other party.

             If you are afraid of any of the parties involved in your case, or afraid you may be in danger if you attend class with them, ask for separate classes when you register. Or, you may register with a different program. Remember, you may attend any approved program in the state.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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