A child custody lawyer in CT can be a valuable asset to you during your divorce or separation. One of the most difficult parts of ending a marriage is deciding what is in the best interests of the children. This includes making determinations about legal and physical custody, as well as visitation schedules/parenting plans and the amount of support that is necessary to meet the needs of the children. Working with a skilled and compassionate child custody attorney can lead to the right solution for everyone.
The Law Offices of Heidi E. Opinsky, LLC, is a client-focused divorce firm where the goal is to exceed the expectation of each individual who entrusts his or her interests to the divorce firm.
Heidi E. Opinsky and her team of Fairfield County legal professionals are committed to fulfilling these goals for her clients. This is particularly true in matters involving child custody.
Child custody cases require determinations about who will have primary responsibility of the physical residential custody of the child in addition to a determination of which parent will make the important legal decisions regarding the child. There are two components to custody, which are:
- Legal Custody: This enables one or both parents to make decisions regarding the care of the child, including matters such as health, education, religion, and all other issues that impact the child’s general health and welfare. Parents often share joint legal custody when both parents are able and committed to determining these vital matters in the best interests of their children. However, the courts will step in and award sole legal custody if there is extreme hostility or acrimony between the parents or some other extenuating circumstances exist such as neglect, abuse, drugs or alcohol which impede the parent from acting in the best interests of the child. Sole legal custody means that one parent has the right to make all important decisions for the child without consulting the other parent. This often is ordered if there has been family violence, abuse, neglect, alcohol or drugs impacting the decision-making ability of one parent to make these decisions in the best interests of the child.
- Physical Custody: This is the establishment of the primary residence of the child. When there is joint or shared physical custody, the parents share the responsibility for providing a home for the child with a visitation schedule or parenting plan that can be as limited or expansive as desired by the parent. Sole physical custody typically means that the child’s primary residence is with one parent, while the other parent has visitation and parenting time with the child. Primary residential custody of a child with one parent is often ordered in order to provide a more stable environment and consistency for the child and does not mean that the parent who does not have primary physical custody cannot enjoy as much visitation and access with the child as possible. When a court is forced to make a finding or determination that one parent is not fit to see the child pursuant to a regular schedule for serious offenses or reasons (i.e., drugs, alcohol, abuse or neglect), a court may order supervised visitation and the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem or Attorney for the Minor Child to assist the court in determining what is in the best interests of a child. Most cases resolve themselves with both parents sharing joint legal custody and decision-making over the child, and residential custody with either parent with a visitation schedule and parenting plan.
Custody issues are determined by an analysis of what is in the best interest of the child in both Connecticut and New York. Parents are encouraged to come up with a private agreement or parenting plan without the intervention of the court in order to minimize acrimony. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement, the matter will be in the hands of the judge. The factors that a court will consider in determining what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child include:
- The person who acts as the primary caregiver for the child
- The nature of the emotional bond between the child and each parent
- The fitness of each parent to care for the child
- The ability of each parent to meet the health, educational, spiritual and emotional needs of the child
- The education and ability of each parent to care for and be available to the child
- The stability of the residence and household of each parent
- The preferences of the child
- The residence of any siblings of the child
- The impact that the granting of custody will have on the child’s relationship and access with the noncustodial parent
- Any other factors that the court considers relevant to the establishment of a custody order
When one person has been designated as the primary physical custodial parent, there is a visitation schedule that must be established in order to ensure a meaningful relationship with the noncustodial parent. In some instances, a custody agreement must be modified to adjust to changing circumstances in the family, including a possible relocation of a parent and a change in custody when serious significant parenting issues may arise.
Heidi E. Opinsky Represents Individuals In High Asset Divorces And Custody Disputes
When a couple is going through a divorce, there are many issues that must be determined before the final divorce decree is entered. If there are children, then the analysis becomes more complex, requiring careful strategy in order to protect the needs and best interests of the children. Heidi E. Opinsky and her legal team at The Law Offices of Heidi E. Opinsky, LLC, represent moderate to high net worth individuals in divorce actions and annulment proceedings are skilled and empathetic with regard to custody matters. Her practice includes the following:
- Child custody,access/visitation (including grandparent visitation), parenting plans,child support and relocation
- Emergency orders, including, but not limited to, temporary child support, custody and protective/restraining orders
- Hague Convention and parental kidnapping matters, including, but not limited to, cases arising under the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA)
- Cross-jurisdictional issues involving Connecticut and New York law, including but not limited to matters arising under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)
- UGMA/UTMA accounts, 529 plans and custodial accounts
- Alternative dispute resolution through mediation and collaborative law approaches in Connecticut and New York
Child custody matters involve many different issues, including the highly charged emotions that frequently arise in these cases. It is imperative to have an attorney who understands how to navigate this complex field in order to get the right results for her clients.
Contact Heidi E. Opinsky and her team of legal professionals today at 203-653-3542 to schedule a confidential consultation.