FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY IN WEST HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
The family division of the Superior Court hears cases involving family relationships. These cases include divorce and separation, custody, visitation, child support, paternity matters, and restraining orders. We have experience handling family law cases in the family courts of Meriden, Middletown, Milford, New Haven, Bridgeport and Waterbury, including visitation, custody, support, and restraining orders. We will listen to the unique facts of your family situation and help you obtain a resolution that meets your goals. Note that family court cases are those between parents (e.g. one parent or guardian challenging the other). Cases involving the State seeking to interfere with family relationships, which can include removing children and terminating parental rights, are juvenile court matters. Please see more information on juvenile law here.
VISITATION, CUSTODY, AND RESTRAINING ORDERS
In divorce and separation cases, the court generally issues orders regarding parents’ rights to visit their children. Visitation refers to the amount of time a non-custodial parent or another person (such as a grandparent or other relative) may spend with a child. Connecticut does permit grandparents to request visitation through third-party visitation actions, even though Connecticut does not have a specific “Grandparents’ Rights” law.
Even if the parents of a minor child were never married, a parent may ask the family court to make orders concerning visitation and custody. Without a court order, parents are left on their own to figure out where and with whom their children reside and how often the parents will visit their children.
Custody orders may be for joint custody, sole custody, split custody or shared physical custody. Generally, both parents participate in custody matters, but if there is a risk of harm to the children, then the court may issue an immediate ex parte order of custody. In this situation, the court issues the order without notice to the opposing party, but the court also sets a hearing for a later date. As in other family law matters, courts understand that circumstances change, so parents can request that a court modify custody arrangements.
Family law courts may also issue civil restraining orders in certain circumstances. In Connecticut, civil restraining orders are generally limited to people who have been in familial or dating relationships. If you feel you need protection, we are not afraid to help you ask the court for the order you need to feel more secure. For more information, check out our page on restraining orders.
The laws of Connecticut provide that parents are responsible for the financial support of their minor children. Failure to pay child support can lead to contempt which can lead to imprisonment, wage garnishments, and other enforcement actions.
Even if the parents are not together, the non-custodial parent still has a responsibility to provide care and support to the child. Most orders for child support are issued in divorce actions involving minor children, but unmarried parents may also seek and enforce child support orders. The family division of the Superior Court may issue orders that the non-custodial parent pay child support to the parent with custody of the child.
Child support payments include financial support as well as healthcare costs, insurance costs, child care expenses, school tuition, and more. Even if the non-custodial parent has agreeably and voluntarily been providing support in the past, that parent can stop paying if there is no court order. In order to ensure continued receipt of child support, a custodial parent may ask for a court order setting the amount and time of those payments. The court follows established guidelines to calculate child support payments while taking into consideration the specific facts of your family situation.
In Connecticut, either parent can move to modify the support obligations. Even if you have an existing child support order, you may request additional support if your circumstances and needs change. We have experience obtaining and enforcing child support orders in New Haven, Meriden, Middletown, and Bridgeport courts.
GUARDIANSHIP AND PARENTAL RIGHTS
Cases involving guardianship and parental rights are not heard in family court. They go to either the juvenile session of Superior Court or to probate court.
FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY IN CONNECTICUT
Experienced Connecticut attorneys at DeMatteo Legal Solutions provide compassionate and effective legal assistance to families and children involved in divorce, custody, and other family law matters. If you need an attorney who really listens to your story in order to help you find solutions, contact us today for an initial free consultation.