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Legal Information: Connecticut


January 3, 2024

How will a judge make a decision about custody?

A judge will look at what is in the best interest of the child when s/he is deciding who will receive custody. The judge may consider one or more of the following factors, among others:

  1. the physical and emotional safety of the child;
  2. the child’s nature (temperament) and the developmental needs of the child;
  3. the ability and willingness of the parents to understand and meet the needs of the child;
  4. any relevant and important information obtained from the child, including the child’s preference if the child is able to maturely able to form a preference;
  5. the wishes of the child’s parents as to custody;
  6. the past and current interaction and relationship of the child with each parent, the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the best interests of the child;
  7. the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage such continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent as is appropriate, including following any court orders;
  8. any manipulation by, or coercive behavior of, the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parents’ dispute;
  9. the ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child;
  10. the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community environments;
  11. the length of time that the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment and the desirability of continuing in such environment – – however, if a parent leaves the home during or leading up to the court case to lessen stress in the home, this won’t be held against the parent;
  12. the stability of the child’s existing or proposed residences, or both;
  13. the mental and physical health of all individuals involved – however, a parent’s disability will not be the only determining factor unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interests of the child;
  14. the child’s cultural background;
  15. the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if any domestic violence has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual or the child;
  16. whether the child or a sibling of the child has been abused or neglected, as defined by law; and
  17. whether the party satisfactorily completed participation in a parenting education program.1

1 C.G.S. § 46b-56(c)