Who is entitled to custody?
If there is a disagreement between a parent and a nonparent about custody, a judge can assume that it is in the best interst of the child to be with the parent. This is true unless it can be shown that being with the parent would be harmful to the child.
Where the parents are no longer living or unfit, the judge can award custody to another person or to an agency such as the Department of Human Resources, depending on what the judge believes to be in the best interest of the child. If one parent is dead, is unable or refuses to take custody, or has abandoned the child, the other parent is usually entitled to custody of the child.1
1 C.G.S.A. § 46b-56b.