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Connecticut Child Custody Laws

Parents must come to an agreement on child custody when they separate. These arrangements include how they will make major decisions regarding the child moving forward (referred to as "legal custody") and how they will share time with the child (referred to as "parenting time," "timesharing," or "physical custody," depending on the state). If parents are unable to come to an agreement, courts will decide the best course of action based on state child custody laws.


State child custody laws are fairly similar from one state to the next and most states, including Connecticut, have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). Connecticut child custody laws recognize the option of joint custody, allow for visitation by grandparents, and consider the child's own wishes before ordering custody terms.

This article provides a general overview of child custody laws in the state of Connecticut.

Child Custody Statutes in Connecticut

Learn more about Connecticut's child custody laws in the chart below.

Code Section

§ 46b-56 et seq. of the Connecticut General Statutes

Year Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Adopted


Joint Custody an Option?

Yes, § 46b-56a

Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, § 46b-59

Child's Own Wishes Considered?


Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, usually through the enactment of new statutes but sometimes through higher court decisions or other means. You may want to contact a Connecticut child custody attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Connecticut Custody Hearings

If you and your ex cannot agree on a custody arrangement, you may have to attend a custody hearing in court. If a judge has to determine custody issues, they will create an arrangement based on your child's best interests. Connecticut family courts will consider any factors that are relevant to your child's best interests and, generally, give more consideration to the factors that will affect your child's safety and well-being. Some of these factors will focus on your child, like their preference (if they are old enough), their relationship with any siblings, and the need for consistency and continuity in their education, community, and family life.

Other factors may consider your and the other parent's personal circumstances. For example:

  • The capacity and disposition of the parents to understand and meet the needs of the child
  • The wishes of the child's parents for custody
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent as is appropriate
  • Any manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parent's dispute
  • The ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved (disability of a proposed custodial parent or another party, in and of itself, is not determinative of custody unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interests of the child)
  • Whether the parent satisfactorily completed participation in a parenting education program

A judge can also consider certain criminal charges and convictions, any past or present physical abuse, and whether either parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Connecticut Family Laws Related Resources:

If you and your child's other parent are separating, you might not agree on who gets custody of the child or what the custody arrangement looks like. There are many other factors to consider in these determinations, but the court's primary concern will be the child's own best interests. One of the best ways to get a handle on the process is to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney.

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