In a recent Connecticut case, the judge ruled for extra father time based on the 16 factors defining best interests of the child. Importantly, the judge ruled that a major change in circumstances is NOT required in order to change parenting time. The judges decision says:
In modifying visitation, there is no requirement that the court find as a threshold matter that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred. Szczerkowski v. Karmelowicz, 60 Conn. App. 429, 433, 759 A.2d 1050 (2000). “In making or modifying any order as provided in subsection (a) of [General Statutes Section 46b-56], the rights and responsibilities of both parents shall be considered and the court shall enter orders accordingly that serve the best interests of the child and provide the child with the active and consistent involvement of both parents commensurate with their abilities and interests.”
This case signals that judges are not willing to defer to the wishes of the primary residential parent when more time with the other parent is available. The attorney for the father went through each of the 16 factors to show that the change in parenting time was in the best interests of the child.
This is a major opportunity to influence Family Court reform
Legislative Office Building, LOB, Room 2C, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 | 10:00AM – 12:00 Noon: Presentation by Experts
12:00 Noon – 1:00PM | Questions & Answers
1:00PM – 1:30PM | Lunch Recess
1:30PM – Public Hearing
- How to improve relations & confidence in Judiciary.
- Financial & Emotional impact of court and families.
- Guardian Ad Litem – How best to utilize them and work with them
- Parental alienation – “What it is?” – How impact children & families.
- Early interventions – Misconceptions Parental alienation cases & Treatment & Outcomes.
- When & How children’s medical information and private identities are protected.
Parents and community members requesting to speak during the public hearing should sign up between 8:30AM to 9:30AM at Atrium, 1st Floor. Public comment will be allowed 3 minutes.
Please submit written testimonies to Milagros.Acosta@cga.ct.gov
Written testimony is limited to 5 pages.
How would you vote on this proposed referendum for Connecticut?
“The Connecticut Legislature shall be instructed to vote in favor of legislation requiring that in all separation and divorce proceedings involving minor children, the court shall uphold the fundamental rights of both parents to the shared physical and legal custody of their children and the children’s right to maximize their time with each parent, so far as is practical, unless one parent is found unfit or the parents agree otherwise, subject to the requirements of existing child support and abuse prevention laws?”
“What this law does is it mandates that when a case begins — a time-sharing case or custody case — that I start with what’s best for these children is a 50/50 time-sharing schedule with the parents. Then, I take the facts and apply them from there,” explained McCracken County Family Court Judge Deanna Henschel.
Republican state Rep. Jason Petrie of Elkton, one of the sponsors of the bill, said he hopes it will help reduce conflict.
“Parties are not fighting as much on that first hearing, given that there is a presumption that there is shared custody and equal parenting time,” Petrie said.
Conflict is reduced because the law eliminates the winner/loser mentality that is part of custody cases where one parent fights to become the custodial parent, relegating the other to a visitor with his or her children.
Source: https://www.wpsdlocal6.com/2018/05/01/new-kentucky-law-forces-joint-custody-default/ last accessed July 16, 2018
In 2013, a Task Force consisting of over 30 judges, lawyers, family court practitioners and researchers concluded that:
1. “Promotion of shared parenting constitutes a public health issue that extends beyond a mere legal concern.”
2. “Parents who collaborate in childrearing have a positive effect on their children’s development and well-being.”
3. “Parents who engage in protracted and/or severe conflict that includes rejecting or undermining the other parent have a negative impact.”
Do you agree?
Child welfare cases and family court courts share an imperative to seriously investigate allegations of abuse and violence, so that children and other family members are not placed in danger
- In child welfare, parents are presumed fit, and “only after a parent is found unfit may a court reach the second question of who may care for the child based on the best interests of the child” (Bei-Wen Lee, 2017).
- However, in the case of custody disputes in family court, the argument is frequently made that shared parenting should not be a general presumption based on the possibility of abuse in some cases.
Source: Prof. Kari Adamsons, U of Connecticut, January 26, 2018
Legislative Office Building – Room 1C
300 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Friday, January 26, 2018, 2pm
2:00 – 2:30 Introduction: Speaker: John Clapp
Need to review and update information outlined in 2014 paper titled
“Closing the Gap: Research, Policy, Practice, And Shared Parenting”
by Marsha Kline Pruett and J. Herbie DiFonzo.
2:30 – 3:30 Presentation: Speaker: Prof. Kari Adamsons, Ph.D. -
Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and
Family Studies at the University of Connecticut.
Research relevant to “gap” issues identified in 2014 paper including
new research presented at the International Conference on Shared
Parenting held on May 29-30, 2017, Boston, Massachusetts.
3:30 – 4:00 Questions and Discussion with Audience
Moderator: John Clapp
A three-day Task Force meeting of “family law experts” (i.e., legal experts, mental health practitioners, conflict resolution practitioners, educators, judges, court services administrators, and researchers) reached strong consensus on Shared Parenting.
“Consensus Point 1: Promotion of shared parenting constitutes a public health issue that extends beyond a mere legal concern. Parents who collaborate in childrearing have a positive effect on their children’s development and well-being. Parents who engage in protracted and/or severe conflict that includes rejecting or undermining the other parent have a negative impact. The potential for shared parenting is present for children regardless of the family structure in which they live, and it represents a key protective factor in (a) helping children adjust to separation and divorce and (b) establishing an ongoing healthy family environment in which to rear children and facilitate high-quality parenting. (p. 152)”
Source: “CLOSING THE GAP: RESEARCH, POLICY, PRACTICE, AND SHARED PARENTING” by Marsha Kline Pruett and J. Herbie DiFonzo. (Family Court Review, Vol. 52, No 2, April 2014).
What is the “Tender Years Doctrine?” This is the belief that very young children – infants, toddlers, and children up to four years of age – should spend all their overnights in one location.
- It has been used to justify many court orders denying or restricting access between a fit parent and his or her children.
- But it is not supported by a broad consensus of scientific researchers.
- A definitive “Consensus Report,” published in a widely respected journal shows that the evidence supports overnights with both parents when the parents live separately.
- At a scientific conference on Monday, May 29, 2017 the author of the Consensus Report, Dr Richard Warshak, told the story of an attempt by several prominent clinicians to suppress the Report.
- They tried to prevent publication.
- They asked the journal editors not to publish the names of the 110 scientists who support the Concensus Report.
- They then resorted to calling the report “divisive.”
- Not surprisingly, the clinicians trying to suppress the report profit from high conflict divorce cases.
In the dry language of science: “Sufficient evidence does not exist to support postponing the introduction of regular and frequent involvement, including overnights, of both parents with their babies and toddlers. The theoretical and practical considerations favoring overnights for most young children are more compelling than concerns that overnights might jeopardize children’s development.” (p. 46, Warshak, 2014).
Source: Dr. Richard Warshak, Clinical Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, “Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report.” Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. 2014, Vol. 20, No. 1, 46–67. This journal ranks in the top 75 out of 252 psychology journals according to Scopus statistics on citation impact.