Connecticut parents make daily decisions concerning the health and well-being of their children. We research the best toys to buy, make sure our homes are fully child-proofed and choose activities that will both entertain and enrich our children. However, for a growing number of single parents, one of the most essential forms of protection is often overlooked. When one parent is absent or shows little interest in his or her child, the other parent often believes that there is no need for a formal child custody agreement. In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth.
In the eyes of the law, parents have equal rights to their child. In the absence of a formal child custody agreement, either parent has the right to make decisions for their child, including removing them from the area. When one parent has abandoned the family or has very little interest in parenting, it is easy to believe that there is no chance that he or she will attempt to take custody of the child. However, many parents have found out the hard way that this is not always true when the absent parent files for custody in his or her home state.
This type of action usually comes on the heels of an attempt to collect child support payments, or as a manipulative measure to control or frighten the other parent. However, it can also result from good intentions, such as when the absent parent has remarried and wishes to include the child in the new family or has sincere regrets about being absent from the child's life. No matter the reasoning behind such a dispute, the disruption brought to the child's life is almost always negative.
When a child custody case is initiated in a state other than that where the child normally resides, the first step is an aggressive push to move the case to the jurisdiction where the child and parent reside. This can give the Connecticut parent a distinct advantage in terms of securing witnesses, and also cuts out the travel expenses that would accompany an out-of-state proceeding. As with any child custody issue, this concern is best addressed by outlining the child custody agreement at the time of divorce or separation.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Two Big Child Custody Mistakes To Avoid," Bob Jeffries, Dec. 26, 2012