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Legal Information: Connecticut

Custody

Updated: 
April 4, 2019

If a custody order is already in place, how can I get it changed?

Because custody is decided in the best interest of the child, an order is not usually permanent.  If you have a custody order already in place, you can petition the court to make changes to it or modify it.  Generally, you can only ask to have a custody order modified if there has been a change in circumstances.

To modify a custody order, you will generally need to go to the court that issued the order, even if you have moved.  Generally, once a court has jurisdiction, that court will keep jurisdiction, even if you move to another state. If you have moved, you can ask the court to change the jurisdiction to the new state that you are in. This is often complicated, and as with all custody issues, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer about this. To find a lawyer or legal assistance program in your area, please visit our CT Finding a Lawyer page.

Can I change the state where my case is being heard?

For information on trying to transfer a custody case to another state/ changing a final custody order a different state, please see our Changing a final custody order page.

This is often complicated, and as with all custody issues, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer about this. To find a lawyer or legal aid program in your area, please visit the CT Finding a Lawyer page.

If the other parent takes the kids out of the state without my permission, what can I do?

The answer to this question is very complicated and may depend on many different factors. If the other parent takes the children out of state or somewhere else in the state in violation of your rights to custody or visitation under a court order, you can file a petition for contempt of court.  If there is no custody order, some factors that may be considered are whether the parents are married (and considered to have equal parental rights) or, in the case of unmarried parents, whether the father's paternity has been legally established.  Also, there could be a big difference if the other parent is planning a brief visit out of state, a long absence, or if s/he is planning on moving out of state for a long time.  You can find Connecticut's custodial interference criminal laws on our CT Statutes page here (in the 2nd degree) and here in the 1st degree. However, these laws can be hard to interpret we strongly suggest talking to a lawyer who specializes in custody matters to find out if the other parent's actions are legal or not.  See our CT Finding a Lawyer page for information about resources in your state.