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Why would the court decide one spouse is better fit to parent?

When you and your spouse determined that the differences between you were not resolvable, you filed for divorce. As parents, you each felt strongly about certain issues that you knew would affect your children moving forward in life. It's one thing to disagree about a minor issue, such as what time the children should go to bed at night. It's quite another to believe that a co-parent is unfit and that the court should grant you sole custody.

As in all cases in Connecticut or beyond that are child-related in divorce, the judge overseeing your case has full discretion to make decisions regarding your custody agreement. You can't simply walk into court and say that you think you should have full legal and physical custody without being able to support your statement with legitimate reason.

What are the court's standards?

The court decides every co-parenting issue in divorce on a case-by-case basis. The following list includes information that shows what factors the judge in your case will likely consider when determining whether your co-parent is unfit or there is some reason you should have sole custody:

  • The court pays close attention the physical well-being of children. If you show evidence that your spouse is a detriment to your children's physical health or safety, it may be one of several issues that might prompt a sole custody decision.
  • The court typically believes that children fare best when they maintain active, healthy relationships with both parents after divorce. If you believe your co-parent is trying to impede your parent/child relationship, it is definitely a matter the court will want to take under consideration.
  • Issues such as substance abuse or exposing children to a lifestyle the court would think may place their well-being at risk are other issues that constitute legitimate reasons to request full legal or physical custody of your kids.

On the other hand, being angry over past marital problems that led to your divorce, especially if infidelity or some other climactic event was a significant factor in the situation, is not necessarily a reason the court would find you better fit to parent your children than your ex. If you're uncertain whether a particular issue is worthy of the court's attention, you can discuss it with someone who has experience litigating family law matters in order to determine a best course of action in your own situation.

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