What Happens When Connecticut Divorcing Parents Reach an Agreement on Custody, Visitation, and Parenting Time?

Connecticut Divorce Attorney Meghan Freed discussing alimony in Connecticut divorcesMany divorcing Connecticut parents ultimately reach an agreement about how they will co-parent — including how custody, visitation, and parenting in general will work. What happens next in Connecticut Courts?  What must the written agreement (or “parenting plan”) have to include?  Will the divorce court accept your agreement?

How Do Parents Reach Parenting Agreements?

For some Connecticut divorcing parents, agreeing on parenting is relatively easy, for others, it takes more work, reflection, and discussion.  This often takes the form of negotiations between your respective divorce attorneys.  It may also involve consultation with mental health professionals experienced in what parenting schedule will best support your children.  In a collaborative divorce, your team will include attorneys and a mental health professional to help you find common ground.  In mediation, your mediator provides resources to help you develop a plan that’s workable and in your children’s best interests.  Whatever your path to reaching an agreement, your divorce lawyer will draft what’s called a “parenting plan” or “parental responsibility plan” that will be submitted to the court with a request that it become the court’s order on parenting.

What Must a Connecticut Parenting Agreement Include?

In Connecticut, the parenting plan that divorcing parents agree on must (1) set forth each parent’s authority and responsibility for the child and (2) provide for the child’s physical care, emotional stability, and changing needs as he or she grows older.

Parenting plans must:

1. designate where the child will live during the year;

2. allocate decision-making authority to either or both parents for the child’s health, education, and religious upbringing;

3. make a plan to resolve future disputes that include seeking assistance from mental health professionals or others in reaching a developmentally appropriate resolution, where appropriate;

4. deal with (a) a parent’s failure to honor his or her responsibilities under the plan and (b) the child’s changing needs over time;

5. minimize the child’s exposure to harmful parental conflict and encouraging the parents in appropriate circumstances to meet their responsibilities through agreements; and

6. protect the child’s best interests.

Must the Connecticut Divorce Court Accept Our Parenting Agreement?

The main statute addressing custody of children as between two parents is §46b-56 of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Under §46b-56, the court must adopt consensual parenting plans and enter them as a court order unless it holds a hearing and determines in that hearing that the plan is not in the child’s best interests.

An experienced divorce lawyer shares insights and experiences regarding the parenting plan structures generally considered in a child’s best interest. They will apply that knowledge and experience to the specifics of your situation and customize their advice to you.

Next Steps

The specifics of how parenting might work for you depends on the ins and outs of your family situation, your children, and your goals for your children.

Our first step at Freed Marcroft, the Goals & Planning Conference, is designed to get to the heart of your problem and unveil your true goals for your life. Once we discover your goals for your life, we are able to take our all of our collective experience with divorce, law, the available ways to divorce, strategy, courts, judges, and other lawyers, and build a divorce customized for you.

Schedule your Goals & Planning Conference today, or contact us either here or by phone at 860-560-8160.


Written by Meghan Freed