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Changes in Connecticut law address child custody

Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Sep 21, 2012 in Child Custody

When the best interests of a child are at stake, matters regarding child custody take center stage. Connecticut legislators have acknowledged this by passing a law that addresses three custody-related issues: the relationships that grandparents have with their grandchildren, legal adoption, and the failure of parents, guardians or custodians to report the disappearance of children.

The law, which takes effect Oct. 1, includes a provision for grandparents who seek visitation rights. Courts will take a closer and harder look at a grandparent's right to see his or her grandchildren if it can be proven that a parent-like relationship with the child exists and that prohibiting visitation could be harmful to the child.

Legal adoption procedures for children in the custody and care of foster parents also have been revised. The Department of Children and Families has the authority to file adoption petitions in Connecticut Superior Court rather than in probate court. Lawmakers hope the change will expedite the process of finding permanent homes for the state's nearly 6,000 children in foster care.

In addition, a portion of the law responds to the famous Caylee Anthony case in Florida. The law now requires any parent, guardian or person with legal custody, control or supervision of a child under the age of 12 to report the minor's disappearance within 24 hours. Parents who fail to do this face jail time and fines.

As the new laws come into effect next month, it will be interesting to see how they affect the arena of family law. Child custody is an issue that affects many parents who are going through a divorce, but these new laws can affect not just divorced parents, but parents who were never married and single parents alike. If you are facing child custody decisions, seeking legal advice may be helpful to ensure you fully understand your rights, options and responsibilities.

Source: Minuteman News Center, "New laws change, strengthen rights of children, families and seniors," Sept. 12, 2012