Child Custody & Parenting Access

Child Custody & Parenting Access in Bridgeport & Milford, CT

Child Custody

If your divorce involves children, the impact on them is our top priority at Gans & Gans. We offer more than 25 years of experience in helping families through the emotional transitions of separation.

Connecticut Child Custody Laws

Child custody is determined based upon the best interests of the child. Joint custody is commonly awarded, as most family courts believe both parents should be there for support and guidance. However it is more complicated than many believe.
  • Joint physical custody: Physical custody pertains to the actual residence of the child. While one parent will typically have primary physical custody, the child may still reside much of the time with the other parent, such as on weekends, holidays, and other times designated in a custody agreement.

  • Joint legal custody: Decision-making powers are essential to the welfare of a child. Joint legal custody enables both parents to be involved in making major decisions, such as those involving healthcare, education, religion, and other life decisions. 

  • Sole custody: While sole custody is not common in Connecticut, it is occasionally in the child's best interest. If there is a history of abuse, neglect, drug abuse, alcohol dependence, or other serious problems, it may be necessary to fight for sole physical and legal custody.
As child custody attorneys at Gans & Gans, we help our clients understand the applicable laws. We are supportive of their needs and concerns while working to negotiate an effective child custody agreement which is in the child's best interest.
Child Support

Child support provides protection and financial stability so that the child receives the care and support he/she needs and deserves—from both parents.

Connecticut Child Custody Laws
Each child has a right to be supported by both biological parents. Child support payments are calculated based upon strict statutory guidelines considering number of children and income of both parents. Child support payments will also allocate responsibility for other support, such as:
  • Daycare costs 
  • Medical insurance 
  • Uncovered medical expenses
  • Percentage of college education  
  • Extracurricular/sport expenses 
While departure from child support guidelines is rare, there are certain exceptions, such as in cases involving shared parenting plans or intentional reduction in earning capacity. Our child support attorneys ensure that all sources of income are considered when establishing child support.
Parenting Access Plans/Visitation

It is important to maintain your relationship with your child throughout the divorce process and going forward. Gans & Gans attorneys will help facilitate this.

Experienced Guidance with Parenting Time Concerns

Child custody and parenting plans are based solely upon what is in the child's best interest. Therefore, in contested visitation matters, the court may appoint a guardian or attorney for the minor to convey what the child's wishes or best interests are. We always work to resolve these issues out of court, but if it is necessary, our family lawyers are skilled at taking cases to trial.

Parenting Time Plans/Parental Access Plans

Gans & Gans Family Law Attorneys helps clients establish parenting plans in conjunction with child custody agreements. These can range from traditional plans involving joint physical custody with parenting time on weekends, holidays, and summer breaks to comprehensive agreements which involve time after school, evenings during the week, equal time, or other arrangements.

We understand that each family is unique with very individual needs. Therefore, we tailor our representation so that your parenting time agreement is based upon the specific facts and needs of your situation. If any changes need to be made, we’ll be here.
Unmarried Parents

When in a loving relationship, it may be unimaginable that the relationship will ever end. At Gans & Gans, we offer experienced counsel to unmarried couples who are currently still together and those who have ended their relationship.

Connecticut Laws Involving Unmarried Couples

In Connecticut, unmarried couples do not have the same rights or protection as married couples should the relationship end--except for child support rights.

Our family law attorneys help unmarried couples protect their rights, assets, and future claims by establishing a cohabitation agreement between the couple. Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement enables unmarried couples to address future support as well as allocation of assets, debts, and rights.

Protection for Unmarried Parents

If a relationship involving unmarried parents ends, it is crucial to speak with an attorney quickly and start custody actions as soon as possible. We help unmarried parents with the following:
  • Resolving child custody disputes 
  • Establishing parenting plans/access rights
  • Determining child support rights
  • Paternity actions when necessary 
Separation of parents can be emotionally and physically devastating to a child. At Gans & Gans, we work to minimize the impact. Therefore, when making decisions that involve your children, we stress that it is important to work together to achieve an agreement.
Modification of Child Custody

As the child grows, changes may need to be made to custody agreements. At Gans & Gans, our lawyers understand that it is natural for families to evolve over time. We help parents re-evaluate the agreements and work to establish an arrangement which reflects the family's current needs.

Client-Centered Child Custody Modifications

As with the initial child custody agreement or court order, any child custody modifications must be in the child's best interest. A parent requesting a modification must show that while the original order may have been in the child's best interest then, that is no longer the case. New factors to consider include:
  • A parent moves out of state following job relocation 
  • A parent becomes abusive 
  • A parent's new spouse is abusive 
  • A parent's job causes limited availability to support children
  • A child’s choice is heard when he/she becomes old enough  
  • A parent becomes physically or mentally ill, limiting ability to support children  
  • A parent passes away 
As experienced child custody attorneys, we help clients revisit child custody agreements and determine what changes should or should not be made. 
Attorney or Guardian for Minors

When there are contested family issues that involve a child, it is important that the court understands what is in the child's best interest and what his or her wishes are.

Depending on the child's age and the issues involved, the court may appoint an attorney for the child or a guardian ad litem. In many situations, the court will appoint both for the minor to protect his or her welfare.

Attorney for Minors

A court may appoint an attorney for minors in situations where child is older and understands the family issues surrounding them. Parents are often too engrossed in the frustrations, anxiety, and disputes to listen to the child’s wishes.

An attorney for the minor offers a voice for the child, enabling the parents and the court to understand what the child wants and needs.

Guardian for Minor/Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)

A guardian ad litem is appointed in situations in which the child involved is young, has difficulty communicating, or may be vulnerable to being swayed by parents. In order to avoid these situations, the GAL assesses the situation to uncover what the best interest of the child truly is.

The GAL may perform home visits, speak with psychologists, talk with schools or pediatricians, or perform other investigations. The GAL will bring evidence to court and may testify regarding the best interest of the child.

Reputable Guardians and Attorneys for Minors

Because children are so rarely allowed in the courtroom, the attorney for the minor or guardian ad litem is often the only voice of reason in court and the only one speaking for either the child's wishes or the child's best interests. Our experienced family lawyers are valued by the Connecticut legal community and have served as such individuals in many cases.

If you need help with any of the above legal matters, call Gans & Gans at 203-916-1943 today.
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