Connecticut shared custody of children is more and more common in the Family Court.  And greatly involving both parents in the life of children is always optimal.  But not every custody case is appropriate for a shared custody arrangement.

Here’s a logical way to analyze whether shared custody is right for your family.

For starters, shared custody is only ordered when there are no parental fitness issues such as substance abuse, untreated mental health problems or recent child neglect or abuse.  Any consideration of shared custody assumes that both parents are fit and capable of parenting the child for long periods of time. Seems obvious but worth a mention.

Assuming there are no identified parental fitness concerns then consider three potential obstacles: conflict, geography and parental availability.

Flexibility and cooperation are necessary.  There will be times when the parenting time has to be adjusted to accommodate the children’s schedule.  With shared custody, there is likely to be significant contact between the parents.  In essence, the children have two homes and both parents need to buy into that concept.  Undermining the other parent or being critical of their parenting style are barriers. When the parent’s relationship is marred by high conflict the forecast is bleak.

If the parents reside a great distance from one another it can be challenging.  And its not just about distance – its the time of the day and the traffic considerations.  The children deserve better than spending inordinate amounts of time constantly traveling between two different residences.

Shared custody isn’t practical if one of the parents has a demanding work schedule. This could mean long work days or regular travel.  Then by default, one of the parent’s becomes the residential parent.

Please email me or call me in Stamford at (203) 356-1475 or in Fairfield at (203) 259-5251 for additional information concerning this issue or any Family Court matter.


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