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Who is the primary caretaker in a shared custody arrangement?

Connecticut parents who divorce often face many challenges as they adapt to new lifestyles and parenting arrangements. Every state has its own guidelines regarding children's best interests and issues pertaining to custody, visitation and support. Even in shared custody arrangements, there may be questions regarding who is considered the primary caretaker of the children. 

While many assume primary care only involves provision of food, shelter and clothing, the court typically considers other key factors as well. For instance, which parent provides most support for sports and leisure activities, as well as who helps with homework and provides medical care are important issues often used to help determine which parent has taken on the role of primary caregiver. Although schools nowadays are fairly used to addressing the needs of children whose parents have divorced, it generally helps simplify the process when one parent is listed as the primary caretaker so administrators know who to contact first if an urgent situation arises. 

When it comes to interpreting children's best interests, the court typically reviews many factors. The physical and mental state of each parent, as well a child's relationships with extended family members are also considered important. Whether extenuating circumstances might be detrimental to children (such as drug or alcohol abuse) is another determining factor in the court's decision-making process.  

Any Connecticut parent in need of guidance regarding a shared custody plan or other divorce issue may request help from a family law attorney. Divorce does not necessarily mean appropriate solutions are unattainable. To the contrary, those who enlist the aid of experienced legal advocates are often able to address child custody issues in a manner that protects their individual interests while focusing on the continued well-being of any children involved.

Source: FindLaw, "Preference for the "Primary Caretaker"", Accessed on Feb. 6, 2017

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