Parental Responsibility Plan: “In any proceeding before the Superior Court involving a dispute between the parents of a minor child with respect to the custody, care, education and upbringing of such child, the parents shall file with the court, at such time and in such form as provided by rule of court, a proposed parental responsibility plan that shall include, at a minimum, the following:

(1) A schedule of the physical residence of the child during the year;

(2) provisions allocating decision-making authority to one or both parents regarding the child’s health, education and religious upbringing;

(3) provisions for the resolution of future disputes between the parents, including, where appropriate, the involvement of a mental health professional or other parties to assist the parents in reaching a developmentally appropriate resolution to such disputes;

(4) provisions for dealing with the parents’ failure to honor their responsibilities under the plan;

(5) provisions for dealing with the child’s changing needs as the child grows and matures; and

(6) provisions for minimizing the child’s exposure to harmful parental conflict, encouraging the parents in appropriate circumstances to meet their responsibilities through agreements, and protecting the best interests of the child.”

THIRD PARTY VISITATION

• Roth v. Weston, 259 Conn. 202, 789 A.2d 231 (2002) involved a petition for visitation by maternal grandmother and maternal aunt pursuant to statute. The Court found the following:

“In the absence of a threshold requirement of a finding of real and substantial harm to the child as a result of the denial of visitation, forced intervention by a third party seeking visitation is an unwarranted intrusion into family autonomy. Accordingly, in the absence of any such requirement of harm, § 46b-59 does not justify interference with parental rights.” “… the petition must contain specific, good faith allegations that the petitioner has a relationship with the child that is similar in nature to a parent-child relationship. The petition must also contain specific, good faith allegations that the denial of the visitation will cause real and significant harm to the child… Second, the petitioner must prove these allegations by clear and convincing evidence.”

Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 68, 120 S.Ct. 2054, 2061. (2000). “Accordingly, so long as a parent adequately cares for his or her children … there will normally be no reason for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question the ability of that parent to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of that parent’s children.

“Minor children are entitled to the love and companionship of both parents. For the good of the child, unless a parent is completely unfit, a decree should allow a parent deprived of custody to visit or communicate with the children under such restrictions as the circumstances warrant… A parent’s privilege of visitation of children whose custody has been awarded to the other parent … is not an absolute right but one which is dependent on what is for the best interests of the children even though such visitation rights may be restricted or effectively terminated.” Raymond v. Raymond, 165 Conn. 735, 741, 345 A.2d 48 (1974).

“A contest relative to custody, such as visitation rights, is not one primarily to determine the rights of the respective parties but rather a determination of the best interests of the child or children.

Preference of the child in a visitation action

“In making or modifying any order with respect to custody or visitation, the court shall (1) be guided by the best interests of the child, giving consideration to the wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and cappable of forming an intelligent preference,…”

Modification of Child Visitation Orders

“Modification” means a child custody determination that changes, replaces, supercedes or is otherwise made after a previous determination concerning the same child, whether or not it is made by the court that made the prior custody determination.”

“In order to prevail on a motion to modify visitation or custody, the moving party must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that there has been a material change of circumstances which alters the initial order. Alternatively, a court must conclude that the original custody or visitation order was not based upon the best interests of the child.

Interesting web sites re: families and visitation

http://www.larcc.org/pamphlets/children_family.htm
http://www.law.cornell.edu/topics/child_custody.html
http://www.nolo.com/encyclopedia/div_ency.html#Subtopic82
http://www.findlaw.com/01topics/15family/sites.html

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