A Connecticut Custody Modification involves changing the current Parenting Plan. Specifically, it requests a change of residential custody from one parent to the other. It may also be used to modify joint legal custody to sole custody – or vice versa.
Multiple court appearances are required if there is no agreement. The judge will usually order Family Relations to perform a Study. The turn around time is between 2 – 4 months. If there is still a disagreement after the Study is completed, a guardian ad litem (GAL) may be appointed. The GAL’s role is to advocate for the child.
If all settlement efforts have been exhausted, then the custody modification will be decided at a trial.
At trial, the judge is required to make two separate findings:
1. The judge must first make a preliminary finding that there has been a “substantial change in circumstances” since the date of the last custody court order. If the parent who filed the motion cannot meet this initial threshold, the request will be denied. The current court orders will therefore remain in effect. The purpose is prevent a frivolous requests for a custody modification and to avoid relitigating issues which have already been decided.
2. Assuming there has been a “substantial change in circumstances” then a judge may decide to modify custody based on what is the in the child’s best interest.