Matrimonial law

Court Denies Mother’s Request to Relocate with Minor Child

In a recent post judgment divorce action originating in the Superior Court for the Judicial District of Hartford, Judge Prestley denied a mother’s request to relocate to France with the parties’ children.  The parties were married in 1981 and after twenty-six years, sought and obtained a divorce in 2008.  During their marriage, the parties had three children, born in 1988, 1992 and 1998.  The youngest child was the only minor at the time of the post judgment action.

In August, 2009, after reconnecting with a high school friend who was living in France, the mother informed the father that she was going to make two-month-trips overseas, returning home for two weeks in between.  Sometime later, she informed the father that she was engaged to the high school friend, and planned to move to France with the children permanently.  The father initially agreed to the plan, but then changed his mind.  In June, 2010, the mother filed a Motion to Modify Visitation requesting permission to relocate with the children.  In October, 2010, the father agreed to the move, but only for the 2010-2011 school year.  As the parties were unable to reach an agreement, a full hearing was held in January, 2011.

In its decision the Court noted that, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §46b-56d(a), the party wishing to relocate must demonstrate that the relocation is for a legitimate purpose, and that the proposed relocation is reasonable in light of such purpose. In this particular case the Court found the plaintiff had no legitimate reason to justify the proposed move. The mother testified that although she could not work legally in France, she would continue to work with her clients and structure workshops in her field. The plaintiff testified she was going to teach one seminar in March 2011 in the state of Florida (while temporarily living in France), and that she taught another workshop for which she earned $500.00.  The Court found that although the plaintiff expressed her opinion that there were more opportunities for her in France, she provided no details to support that claim, and, thus, could not demonstrate that furthering her career opportunities was a legitimate reason for the move.

The plaintiff also contended that relocating to France would provide a cultural opportunity to the parties’ minor child. She testified that the child was a speed-skater, that he had a new coach in France and that skating was more important for him than spending time with the father, from whom he needed to heal.  She further suggested that the child had been unhappy and stressed since the divorce, and that contact between the son and his father was not healthy for the child.

With respect to the child’s needs, the Court found that although there was credible evidence that verbal altercations occurred between the mother and the father in the presence of the children, and that the child was upset about his father’s objections to his moving to France, the evidence also established that the defendant participated in his children’s lives to the extent that he was able given his work schedule.  The Court further found that the father’s relationship with his son was good until the pending issues arose, that the child was involved in speed-skating in Connecticut prior to the move to France, and that skating opportunities were still available to him here.

The Court ultimately held that it could not find any legitimate purpose, financial or otherwise, to justify the proposed relocation.  It noted that although time spent in a foreign country may provide some cultural advantages, those potential advantages were overshadowed by the irreparable harm the child would likely suffer as his relationship with his father was continuing to deteriorate with distance.  The Court essentially held that repairing and fostering the child’s relationship with his father was more important that any cultural advantages he may have gained by moving.

Should you have any questions about divorce in Connecticut or minor relocation cases within Divorce Court, contact our Managing Partner Joseph Maya directly via email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com or by telephone at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation.

Joseph Maya selected to 2022 Edition of Best Lawyers in America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Westport, CT

 

Maya Murphy, P.C. is pleased to announce that Joseph Maya has been included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.

Joseph Maya, a Connecticut and New York-based litigation attorney, was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2022 edition. He has been rated Best Lawyers in America and ranks among the top private practice attorneys nationwide. Attorneys listed in this edition of The Best Lawyers in America were selected after an exhaustive peer-review survey that confidentially investigates the professional abilities and experience of each lawyer. Recognition in Best Lawyers® is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor.

Mr. Maya has been practicing law in Connecticut for more than 25 years. He has been a licensed attorney in New York for more than 30 years.

“Best Lawyers was founded in 1981 with the purpose of highlighting the extraordinary accomplishments of those in the legal profession,” said Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer. “We are proud to continue to serve as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals worldwide.”

Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers based on professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

 

Maya Murphy, P.C. has offices in Westport, CT and New York City. For additional information on Joseph Maya or Maya Murphy, P.C., please visit its website at https://mayalaw.com, or call 203-221-3100.

 

Court Awards Wife Alimony Based on Husband’s Earning Capacity Despite His Unemployment

In a recent divorce action pending in the Judicial District of Stamford at Norwalk, the court awarded a wife alimony and child support based on the husband’s earning capacity even though he was unemployed at the time of trial.  The parties were married in 1995 and lived in Wilton, Connecticut with their three minor children.  The wife brought approximately $360,000.00 into the marriage, consisting of liquid assets and a trust interest.  Although the parties had numerous disagreements over the years, the court found them equally at fault for the breakdown of the marriage.

Although the husband was unemployed at the time of trial, the court found that he had a minimum earning capacity of $200,000.00, plus bonuses and commission.  Thus the court ordered the husband to pay the wife unallocated alimony and child support in the amount of $7,500.00 per month for a period of approximately ten years.  Additionally, commencing January 1, 2013, and for the same ten year period thereafter, the court ordered the husband to pay the wife 40% of his gross earned income between $201,000.00 and $400,000.00, and 30% of his gross earned income between $400,001.00 and $800,000.00.

Should you have any questions regarding alimony, or divorce actions in general, please do not hesitate to contact Michael D. DeMeola, Esq.  He can be reached in the firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at mdemeola@mayalaw.com.
________________________________________________________________________________
Our family law firm in Westport Connecticut serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of: Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newton, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. We have the best divorce attorneys and family attorneys in CT on staff that can help with your Connecticut divorce or New York divorce today.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a divorce law attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100. We offer free divorce consultation as well as free consultation on all other familial matters. Divorce in CT and divorce in NYC is difficult, but education is power. Call our family law office in CT today.

 

Wife Found in Contempt of Court’s “Automatic Orders”

In a relatively recent decision rendered in a dissolution of marriage action, a wife was found in contempt for depriving her husband of information regarding the parties’ two minor children in violation of the court’s “automatic orders.”  In this particular case, the parties were married 1991, and were the parents of two children.  At the time of trial the husband was forty-three years old and in generally good health.  He had an associate’s degree and worked for a supply company earning approximately $51,000 annually.  The wife was also forty-three years old and in generally good health.  Although she stayed home to care for the family for a better part of the marriage, in 1999 she began working as an independent contractor selling kitchen products.  Later, she worked for a local board of education, and at the time of trial, was employed with a local newspaper earning roughly $20,000, plus commission, annually.

During the divorce proceedings, the husband filed a motion for contempt claiming the wife violated the court’s automatic orders in that she left the marital residence with the children and refused to disclose their location.  In reviewing the merits of the husband’s motion, the court noted that in a civil contempt proceeding, the movant must show by a preponderance of the evidence the existence of a clear and unambiguous court order, and willful noncompliance with that order.  According to the court’s “automatic orders,” entered upon the commencement of every divorce action, neither party is permitted to remove children from the State of Connecticut without prior written consent of the other parent.  Additionally, a party vacating the marital residence with minor children must notify the other parent of the move, and must provide the other parent of an address where the relocated party can be contacted.  Finally, where parents live separate and apart during a divorce proceeding, pursuant to the “automatic orders,” they must assist their children in having contact with both parents.

In this particular case, the court found that because the wife was served in hand with a notice of automatic orders, she clearly knew she had an obligation to inform the husband in writing of any relocation.  The court found that she also knew she had a duty to assist her children in having contact with their father.  Nevertheless, the wife willfully removed the children from the home, and kept their address from the husband absent a valid reason for doing so.  As a result, the husband did not know where the children were living until the day of trial.  The court further found that the wife willfully kept the children from having contact with their father in violation of the court’s clear and unambiguous automatic orders.

Should you have any questions regarding automatic court orders, or divorce proceedings in general, please feel free to contact Attorney Michael D. DeMeola, Esq.  He can be reached in the firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at mdemeola@mayalaw.com.
________________________________________________________________________________
Our firm in Westport serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of: Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newton, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to an attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation. Divorce is difficult, education is power. Call today.

Keywords: divorce lawyer, divorce, lawyer, attorney, law firm, law office, legal advice, bankruptcy, CT divorce attorney, domestic violence rights, Connecticut, Connecticut divorce lawyers, marital property rights, CT divorce mediation, legal separation Connecticut, child custody laws, child support litigation, contested, uncontested, annulments, alimony, mediator, spouse, spousal support law, asset division, visitation right, premarital agreements, prenup, prenuptial agreement, prenup NY, restraining orders, appeals, custody modifications, legal separation CT, prenup CT, custody CT, filing divorce, filing, new, new haven, lawyers, attorneys, family law, family, Connecticut divorce attorney, divorce law, matrimonial law, custody, child custody CT, property division, dissolution of marriage, marriage, divorce NY, New York divorce, best divorce lawyer, visitation, visitation rights, post marital agreements, divorce law firm

New York Child Support Order Constitutes Impermissible Modification

Where a parent relocates to another state following a divorce, parties are often faced with the challenge of determining where to file post judgment motions.  In some cases, parties must also determine whether new – or different – orders are permitted under the laws of the state to which the former spouse moved.  In a relatively recent decision, a New York court addressed whether it was permitted to enter an entirely new child support order after a Connecticut order regarding the same children had expired.

The parties in this case were married in Connecticut and were the parents of three children.  When they separated, the mother moved with the children to New York while the father continued to reside in Connecticut.  As part of the divorce judgment, the court ordered the father to pay child support in the amount of $250.00 per week per minor child, and to continue providing the children with medical insurance at his sole expense. When the eldest son turned eighteen, the father’s support obligation terminated.

The mother subsequently filed a motion in New York seeking the reinstatement of child support.  In support of her motion, the mother claimed that under New York law, child support is payable until the age of twenty-one.  The father moved to dismiss the petition, arguing that the new order constituted an impermissible modification of the original order issued in Connecticut.  The court dismissed the father’s motion, however, and ordered him to pay child support in the amount of $350.00 per week.

On appeal, the Court noted that under the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act, each state must give full faith and credit to another state’s validly issued child support order and shall not seek to modify such order except in limited circumstances.  That legislative scheme, coupled with the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, establishes that the state issuing a child support order retains continuing, exclusive jurisdiction as long as one of the parties continues to reside in the issuing state.  In this particular case, the Appellate Court found that the father continued to reside in Connecticut and, therefore, Connecticut retained exclusive jurisdiction over the support order at issue.  Because the Appellate Court also found that the new order constituted a modification, it ultimately concluded that the trial had acted without jurisdiction.

Should you have any questions regarding child support, or divorce matters in general, please feel free to contact Attorney Michael D. DeMeola, Esq.  He can be reached in the firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at mdemeola@mayalaw.com.

________________________________________________________________________________
Our firm in Westport serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of: Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newton, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to an attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation. Divorce is difficult, education is power. Call today.

 

Court Permits Transfer of Guardianship to Out-Of-State Aunt

In a decision involving the Department of Children and Families, a Connecticut trial court granted a maternal aunt’s motions for out-of-state placement and transfer of guardianship.  The children were originally removed from the mother’s care pursuant to an Order of Temporary Custody upon allegations that they were being denied proper care and attention, and were living under conditions injurious to their wellbeing.  After the children were committed to the care of DCF and placed in a foster residence, their maternal aunt, who lived in New York, filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings to obtain guardianship.

In granting the aunt’s motions, the Court explained that pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-129(j), if a court determines that commitment should be revoked and the child’s guardianship should vest in someone other than his or her parents, or if parental rights are terminated at any time, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that an award of legal guardianship or adoption to a relative who is licensed as a foster parent shall be in the best interests of the child.   That presumption may be rebutted only by a preponderance of the evidence that such an award would not be in the child’s best interests and that such relative is not a suitable and worthy caregiver. In Re Noella A., Superior Court, Judicial District of New London, Docket No. K09CP09011902A (March 24, 2011, Mack, JTR).

Employing the aforementioned standard, the Court found that although the children had progressed well in foster care, there was no showing that the same progress could not be made if they lived with the maternal aunt.  The Court also found that in living with the aunt, the children would be with their cousins in an equally secure, safe, caring, and nurturing environment. The Court further explained that even though the children established a bond with their foster parents, there was nothing to suggest they could not do so with their extended family. Ultimately modifying the permanency plan from termination of parental rights and adoption to transfer of guardianship, the Court stated it could not find that placement with the aunt would not be in the children’s best interests.

If you have questions regarding guardianship proceedings or any family law matter, contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.
________________________________________________________________________________
Our family law firm in Westport Connecticut serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newton, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. We have the best divorce attorneys and family attorneys in CT on staff that can help with your Connecticut divorce or New York divorce today.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a divorce law attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100. We offer free divorce consultation as well as free consultation on all other familial matters. Divorce in CT and divorce in NYC is difficult, but education is power. Call our family law office in CT today.

Former Wife Found in Contempt For Refusing to Pay College Expenses

A decision rendered in the Connecticut Superior Court illustrates the potential consequences of entering into an ambiguous agreement regarding the payment of college expenses.  In this particular case, the parties obtained an uncontested divorce on September 8, 2008.  Pursuant to the terms of their separation agreement, the parties were each responsible for paying 50% of their children’s “actual college education.”  Except for the designation “actual college education,” the language of the agreement tracked the language of C.G.S.A. §46b-56c in that educational costs were to include room, board, dues, tuition, books, fees, registration costs, and application costs up to the amount charged by the University of Connecticut for a full-time, in-state student.

When the parties’ older son attended technical school, both the mother and father contributed to the cost.  However, when the parties’ younger son enrolled in college, the mother refused to contribute, claiming she was entitled to a credit because the younger son’s technical school education was not “actual college” as set forth in the parties’ separation agreement.  The father filed a motion for contempt against the mother seeking an order of enforcement.

Relying, at least in part, on another Connecticut Superior Court decision which addressed a nearly identical issue, the Court found that the term “college” as used in the parties’ separation agreement did in fact include technical school.  Therefore, the mother was obligated to contribute toward both the older son’s vocational education and the younger son’s college education.  Since she failed to do so, the Court found the mother in contempt and ordered her to pay the husband the outstanding balance within thirty days.

If you have questions regarding alimony and college expenses, or any family law matter, contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.

Court Awards Wife Alimony for a Period of Ten Years with Safe Harbor for Husband Up to $250,000 Annually

In a recent dissolution of marriage action pending in the Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport, the Court awarded the wife unallocated alimony and child support in the amount of $1,000 per week.  The parties were married in 1999 and were the parents of two children, both of whom were minors at the time of trial.  The Husband was thirty-eight years of age, had a degree in engineering, and worked for a family business owned by his father.  The wife was forty years of age.  She did not have a college degree and worked only seven hours per week.  The parties both alleged that the other caused the breakdown of the marriage by abusing drugs and alcohol, although the Court questioned the wife’s credibility on that topic.  The wife also claimed that the husband expressed he wanted to end the marriage because he had met another woman.  Despite the parties’ allegations, however, the Court found them equally at fault for the breakdown of the relationship.

At trial, the wife also claimed that the husband underreported his income on his financial affidavit, although the Court noted that she presented no evidence to support the allegation.  The Court ultimately reviewed the parties’ joint tax returns and found that the husband’s gross income at the time of trial was $140,000 per year, exclusive of any bonus and that the wife was earning $100 gross per week.   Based on those figures, the Court determined that the presumptive child support award under the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines was $392 per week.  However, at the parties’ request, the Court entered an unallocated alimony and child support order, awarding the wife $1,000 per week for a period of ten years, with the full amount deductible by the husband and taxable to the wife.  The Court further ordered the husband to pay the wife 50% of his bonus each year within ten days of his receipt of the same.  The Court specified that said sum shall also be paid to the wife as unallocated alimony and child support, and therefore was also deductible by the Husband and taxable to the wife.  The Court allowed the husband a safer harbor up to $250,000 per year, and the wife a safe harbor up to $10,000 per year, thereby precluding future modifications unless and until their respective incomes exceeded the aforementioned amounts.

If you have questions regarding alimony or any family law matter, contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.

When Third Party Custody is Awarded in Connecticut

A third party can be awarded custody in Connecticut under some very exceptional circumstances. Most third-party actions fail and custody is ultimately awarded to a parent because they have a fundamental right to raise their children. Recently, the Connecticut Judicial Branch put out a few publications that outline what it takes for a third party to win in a custody action and the standards that will be applied to such actions. That publication included an analysis of a landmark case in Connecticut, Fish v. Fish, that helped shape the law on this issue in Connecticut. That case has since been cited as the proper way to interpret C.G.S.A. 46b-56 and 46b-57 which deal with custody and visitation. The CT publication and Fish v. Fish will be excerpted in the following to explain this tricky custody issue.

To begin it is helpful to outline a few basic Connecticut principles. First, “third parties cannot initiate custody proceedings, unlike third parties who are permitted to initiate proceedings in visitation cases.” Fish v. Fish, 285 Conn. 24, 72 (2008). Therefore, in order for a third party to make a claim for custody, they would have to intervene in an already initiated custody proceeding.

Next, a third party attempting to intervene in a custody proceeding needs to have proper standing. Unlike a parent who clearly has standing in a custody proceeding, a third party needs to overcome this constitutional hurdle by properly alleging a parent-like relationship. As stated in Fish, “. . . to avoid constitutional infirmity, the standing requirement that a third party allege a parent-like relationship with the child should be applied for all of the reasons described in Roth to third party custody awards and to third parties seeking intervention in existing custody proceedings.” Id. at 44.

If a third party does intervene properly and has standing, then the third party needs to overcome a strong parental presumption. “The statutory presumption in favor of parental custody may be rebutted only in exceptional circumstances and only upon a showing that it would be clearly damaging, injurious or harmful for the child to remain in the parent’s custody.” Id.

“Where the dispute is between a fit parent and a private third party, both parties do not begin on equal footing in respect to rights to care, custody, and control of the children. The parent is asserting a fundamental constitutional right. The third party is not. A private third party has no fundamental constitutional right to raise the children of others. Generally, absent a constitutional statute, the non-governmental third party has no rights, constitutional or otherwise, to raise someone else’s child.” Id. at 46. Most jurisdictions have observed that third-party custody awards should be exceptional in nature and that the concept of detriment involves a type of analysis qualitatively different from that involving the best interests of the child.

The Fish court concluded, “that the statutory presumption in favor of parental custody may be rebutted only in exceptional circumstances and only upon a showing that it would be clearly damaging, injurious or harmful for the child to remain in the parent’s custody.” See In re B.G., 11 Cal.3d at 698. “We add that this does not mean temporary harm of the kind resulting from the stress of the dissolution proceeding itself but significant harm arising from a pattern of dysfunctional behavior that has developed between the parent and the child over a period of time.” Id. at 57.

“Such a standard is not constitutionally infirm or susceptible to the criticism sometimes leveled against the “best interests of the child” test because it does not allow the court to apply its own “personal and essentially unreviewable lifestyle preferences.” Roth v. Weston, 259 Conn. at 223. “At the same time, the standard we adopt is narrowly tailored to limit the scope of intervention to those exceptional cases in which parental custody would result in significant harm to the child, thus serving the compelling state interest of protecting the liberty interests of the parents while remaining sensitive to the child’s welfare.” Id.

As you can see there are significant hurdles for a third party to overcome if they have a legitimate reason for wanting custody of someone’s child. In summation, the party must prove by a fair preponderance of the evidence facts demonstrating that he or she has a relationship with the child akin to that of a parent, that parental custody clearly would be detrimental to the child and, upon a finding of detriment, that third party custody would be in the child’s best interest. Third-party custody is an uphill fight and only a very experienced attorney can help a client navigate these rough waters. If you need a lawyer’s assistance in a custody matter, don’t hesitate to call one of Maya Murphy’s experienced family law attorneys for a free consultation at 203-221-3100.

Written by Kyle M. Buonocore, Excerpts from Fish v. Fish, 285 Conn. 24 (2008).

________________________________________________________________________________
Our family law firm in Westport Connecticut serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newton, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. We have the best divorce attorneys and family attorneys in CT on staff that can help with your Connecticut divorce or New York divorce today.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a divorce law attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100. We offer free divorce consultation as well as free consultation on all other familial matters. Divorce in CT and divorce in NYC is difficult, but education is power. Call our family law office in CT today.

Granparents Who Seek Visitation Over Parental Opposition Have a Tough Legal Hill to Climb

Can grandparents get visitation rights of their grandchildren even if the child’s parents oppose such visitation? The answer is yes, but not without a tough standard to overcome. In 2002 the Connecticut Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in Roth v. Weston. The Court held “a rebuttable presumption [is created] that visitation that is opposed by a fit parent is not in a child’s best interest.”

“In sum, therefore, we conclude that there are two requirements that must be satisfied in order for a court: (1) to have jurisdiction over a petition for visitation contrary to the wishes of a fit parent; and (2) to grant such a petition.” Roth v. Weston, at 234.

The court in Roth then set forth both a jurisdictional and evidentiary standard: “First, 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 denial of the visitation will cause real and significant harm to the child … The degree of specificity of the allegations must be sufficient to justify requiring the fit parent to subject his or her parental judgment to unwanted litigation. Only if these specific, good faith allegations are made will a court have jurisdiction over the petition.” Id.

“Second, once these high jurisdictional hurdles have been overcome, the petitioner must prove these allegations by clear and convincing evidence. Only if that enhanced burden of persuasion has been met may the court enter an order of visitation. These requirements thus serve as the constitutionally mandated safeguards against unwarranted intrusions into a parent’s authority.” Id. at 234–35.

This much stricter standard puts the parents’ right to make decisions for their child above all else. Later, “Public Act 12–137 codified Roth’s jurisdictional and evidentiary standard in § 46b–59, and additionally expressed various factors to guide the court in its decision making. The current version of § 46b–59 now enumerates factors for the court to take into consideration.” Miller v. Voisine, 2013 WL 1800414.

The statute states in relevant part: “(c) In determining whether a parent-like relationship exists between the person and the minor child, the Superior Court may consider, but shall not be limited to, the following factors:

  1. The existence and length of a relationship between the person and the minor child prior to the submission of a petition pursuant to this section;
  2. The length of time that the relationship between the person and the minor child has been disrupted;
  3. The specific parent-like activities of the person seeking visitation toward the minor child;
  4. Any evidence that the person seeking visitation has unreasonably undermined the authority and discretion of the custodial parent;
  5. The significant absence of a parent from the life of a minor child;
  6. The death of one of the minor child’s parents;
  7. The physical separation of the parents of the minor child;
  8. The fitness of the person seeking visitation; and
  9. The fitness of the custodial parent.”

Specific to grandparents, the statute further states “(d) In determining whether a parent-like relationship exists between a grandparent seeking visitation pursuant to this section and a minor child, the Superior Court may consider, in addition to the factors enumerated in subsection (c) of this section, the history of regular contact and proof of a close and substantial relationship between the grandparent and the minor child.” Id. at 8.

This standard is often tough to overcome by a grandparent. The legislature’s purpose when enacting this statute was to protect a parent’s right to raise their children and prevent unwanted intrusion that could be detrimental. But, this is not an impenetrable wall. If a grandparent can show a history of regular contact, demonstrating a substantial relationship in which continuation would be in the best interests of the child, a court will allow visitation despite parent objection.

If you have questions regarding visitation or any family law matter, contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.

________________________________________________________________________________
Our family law firm in Westport Connecticut serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newton, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. We have the best divorce attorneys and family attorneys in CT on staff that can help with your Connecticut divorce or New York divorce today.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a divorce law attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100. We offer free divorce consultation as well as free consultation on all other familial matters. Divorce in CT and divorce in NYC is difficult, but education is power. Call our family law office in CT today.