CHILD CUSTODY, SUPPORT, TPR & DCF
Of all aspects of divorce, issues around child custody and support tend to be the most sensitive. When parents divorce and they can’t agree on what is in their children’s best interest, the courts intervene and must make decisions for the family. Child custody and support issues can often turn an uncontested divorce into a highly contentious divorce. A child custody and support attorney with mediation and parenting coordination training can make the difference between coming to a mutually agreeable plan and a plan imposed on you by the courts.
WHAT IS CHILD CUSTODY?
Child custody refers to the legal and physical guardianship of children. There are two forms of custody, legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the child’s lifestyle. The person or people who have legal custody have the ability to make decisions about what religion the child will be raised in, decisions about medical treatment, and decisions about the child’s education.
Physical custody refers to where the child lives. One parent may have sole physical custody, and the other may have visitation rights. Or, both parents may have physical custody, which means the child lives with each parent half of the time.
The law in Connecticut defines child support as, “the provisions, supplies or funds needed to live on.” Connecticut courts use guidelines meant to standardize child support payments. However, because courts recognize that each family is different, judges have considerable discretion in determining child support payments.
Our child support and custody attorneys use the same formula and software the courts use to determine child support payments. This means we can give you a solid idea of how much child support you will have to pay or will receive. It also means we can recommend child support payments the court is likely to approve the first time.
FACTORS IN DETERMINING CHILD SUPPORT
There are several factors considered when determining child support but the first one considered is the gross income of both parents. The court also considers each child’s needs including health insurance, education, day care, and other special needs. Another important factor in calculating child support is the child’s standard of living before the divorce or separation.
In situations where one parent does not have an income, courts can calculate their ability to earn a income because both parents have an obligation to support their children. Many other factors and deductions go into calculating child support and such deductions have to be carefully and correctly considered.
CHILD CUSTODY & SUPPORT MEDIATION
Divorce attorneys who are used to engaging in aggressive legal action tend to be tone-deaf to the emotional context of the family going through the divorce. They also tend to encourage attitudes and behavior that has destructive consequences for the children. Our divorce attorneys understand that we can best serve our clients by reducing the destructive effects of divorce on the children. We find that child custody and support mediation helps reduce the negative effects of divorce on children, leads to solutions parents are more likely to comply with and costs less than litigating child custody and support.
CHILD CUSTODY & SUPPORT MODIFICATIONS
Sometimes after a divorce has been finalized, it becomes necessary to change the amount of child support paid each month. The court will alter child support payments if a substantial change in circumstances such as a one parent losing their job results in a 15% difference in support obligations. Child support payments may also be modified if one parent takes a greater (or lesser) percentage of parenting time. Visit our Post Judgment Modifications page to learn more about how our attorneys can help you initiate or defend against a child support modification.
As a parent, you want to make sure that your child is protected and that your parental rights are protected. Having an experienced child custody and support attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. Call our offices today at (860) 218-2122 to learn how we can help you with child custody and support issues.
TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS AND TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS APPEALS
There is nothing more traumatizing to a parent than having their child taken from them; When the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) begins a legal process known as a TPR action, that is exactly what can happen. Our Attorneys and staff and has a history of defending the rights of parents that are subject to DCF actions.
WHAT ARE DCF ACTIONS?
Connecticut has broad laws requiring that a report to be made to the DCF whenever there is suspicion of child abuse, child neglect, or abandonment. In fact, the failure to report such incidents may be a crime and schools, nurses, doctors, counselors are mandated reporters. The laws also protect the person reporting the incidents from liability, as long as the report is made in good faith. Good faith or not, errors and miscommunications happen. Such laws are beneficial and necessary, far too often those reporting such incidents are erring on the side of caution and, as a result, end up report innocuous events.
The burden in a DCF investigation in a TPR case in Hartford, Tolland, New Britain or thought the state of Connecticut is often put on the accused to prove that there was no abuse. If the case is finalized, with negative consequences to the parents, our firm handles Termination of Parental Rights Appeals in the State of Connecticut Courts. In some cases, DCF is called in falsely and this happens far too often during the course of a divorce, particularly because child abuse is not the only reason that a DCF action is initiated. Allegations of criminal conduct, such as the possession of marijuana or domestic violence, can result in an investigation by DCF and the removal of a child. This can happen even if the State of Connecticut does not ultimately file criminal charges or if the criminal case is dismissed.
Many people that become the subject of a DCF investigations and are often surprised to learn that DCF is entitled to keep the identity of the reporter confidential, which limits the ability to address possible motive, bias, or credibility issues.
The burden for DCF to remove a child from a parent is relatively low and may be based completely on hearsay or miscommunications. DCF often uses this leverage to pressure the accused to consent to a finding of dependency. Too often, parents do so without understanding their rights. Your child is important to you. Do not assume that you know the law or how the 'system' works. Our attorneys has helped hundreds of parents in TPR matters, Termination of Parental Rights Appeals in Connecticut and DCF issues.
PROTECT YOUR RIGHT AS A PARENT
Once a report is made, in Connecticut DCF cases, the department of children and services will send an investigator to the home. That investigator has the authority to remove the child from the home and temporarily place that child in foster care or with a relative. Be represented by your own experienced TPR attorney. We have represented families in TPR cases in Enfield, Ellington, Canton, Rockville, Middletown, New Britain, Hartford, Stafford, West Harford, Glastonbury just to name a few...
If you are being prevented from seeing your child or a DCF investigator will be sent to your home, call without hesitation. Our firm has the knowledge and skills necessary to help you fight for your parental rights in a Connecticut DCF action.