Issues in divorce oftentimes arise when people do not understand what rights and obligations they have. If you are not sure what you are entitled, this confusion can complicate your divorce situation. In order to get what you are entitled to out of divorce, you need to understand your rights. You can learn about several common rights issues in divorce here.
Fathers’ Rights in Divorce
One issue arises for fathers in divorce. As a parent, you have certain rights and responsibilities regarding your children. Even if you decide to file for divorce, you won’t lose these rights. This happens unless the court deems you an unfit parent.
A father has the same rights to his children as a mother does. Despite the fact that most mothers get custody of their children in a divorce, fathers still have rights. If you are the father, you will have the following rights, unless the court takes them away from you. You have the right to:
- Participate in parenting.
- Decide where your children live.
- Stay involved in your children’s lives.
- View your children’s medical records.
- View your children’s school records.
- Have custody of your children.
- Make decisions concerning religion, schooling, and the medical treatment of your children.
In addition to these rights, you have obligations to your children. These obligations include:
- Supporting your children financially.
- Providing medical treatment for your children.
- Providing schooling for your children.
- Protecting your children from neglect or harm.
- Providing necessities such as shelter, food, and clothing.
- Loving, nurturing, and encouraging your children.
- Improving the relationship of your children with their other parent.
If your wife wants a divorce and tries to take full custody of your children, you must fight this. In order to do this, hire a Connecticut divorce lawyer. A divorce lawyer can make sure that the court sees you as a loving, capable parent. They can do this despite the negative light that your spouse tries to show you in. You should prove that you are a capable parent. Also prove that it is in your children’s best interest for you to have at least partial custody. By doing this, you can win a custody battle during a divorce.
Even if you divorce, if you have children, you and your ex are responsible for supporting your children. This obligation continues until your children turn 18 years old. No matter when you get divorced, these obligations will persist until your child becomes an adult. If you have a disabled child, you and your spouse could have obligations to care for the child for life.
Grandparents’ Rights in Connecticut Divorce
Divorce has a large impact not only on two spouses but also on their extended family and their children. Even if the divorce allows the child to have a more stable or less stable home than before, it can be a stressful experience and one that is difficult to understand. In order to provide stability for the children as well as to help the rest of the family through this process, the state of Connecticut has laws that can help keep the extended family –particularly grandparents- in the children’s lives.
Troxel v. Granville
The case of Troxel v. Granville (2000) put strict limitations on the rights that grandparents and other third parties can have on court-ordered visitations. These visitations get limited because parents have the right to raise their children without interference. However, there is a statute in Connecticut that addresses the visitation rights of third parties and allows the Court to grant visitations to people other than the children’s parents. This statue, known as the General Statutes § 46b-59, allows the Court to grant visitation rights to a third party without interfering with the parent’s rights.
Regardless, there are strict regulations that a grandparent must follow in order to receive visitation rights. The grandparent must petition for the visitation rights, and the grandparent must prepare to show the Court their importance in the child’s life.
Roth v. Weston
The case of Roth v. Weston (2002) in Connecticut states that the grandparent must prove that not seeing the child will cause the child harm and that the relationship between the grandparent and child acts as a parent-child relationship in some way. Proving that a grandparent spends a significant amount of time with the grandchild and showing that they maintain constant and stable communication will help prove to the Court that the grandparent is an important force in the grandchild’s life.
Once enough evidence gets gathered to support the case, a grandparent should contact a family attorney in order to fully plan what to say in a Court hearing or when speaking to a judge. Divorce constitutes a major change for everyone involved, especially children, but this does not mean that a child must give up everything that they love. If you are a grandparent who wants to have a full relationship with your grandchild, you have a chance to fight for visitation rights in the state of Connecticut. That is your legal right and you should take advantage of it if the child’s parents will not cooperate. Maintaining a stable relationship with a grandparent while their parents is important.
Rights and Responsibilities of a Spouse
Marriage carries with it many benefits, however, it also imposes many legal obligations on you. Before you decide to get married, it is in your best interest to inform yourself on what will be expected from you as a husband or wife. In the United States, marriage is a legal contract. It carries with it rights and responsibilities for both spouses. Even after death or divorce, you may continue to carry certain responsibilities or rights of a married person.
The rights and responsibilities of spouses in marriage can vary from state to state. However, federal statutes determine some issues concerning spouses. For example, the immigration of a spouse will get governed by federal statute as opposed to state statutes. While the rights and responsibilities of spouses can be vague, there are specific marital obligations that you have. For example, adultery, cruelty, desertion, withholding of sexual relations, withholding of love, etc. can all be grounds for legal enforcement.
While it is not against the law to commit adultery, it could mean that you have to pay restitution in divorce.
Consequences for Violating Marital Responsibilities
Violating your marital responsibilities can also contribute to a loss of benefits from a divorce, such as child custody or financial benefits. When you get married, any property or assets that you acquire during the marriage are considered marital property. This means that both you and your spouse will split the property in the event of a divorce. In community property states, for example, California, if you buy a house with money you earned, and your name alone is on the title, it is considered communal property. In non-community property states, it can be easier for property to be considered individual property, but exceptions apply.
Some of these rights and obligations will differ if you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement before getting married. You and your spouse can negotiate financial elements of your marriage before your wedding. For example, in a prenuptial agreement, you and your spouse can agree that property acquired by one spouse during the marriage will be considered individual property.
Termination of Parental Rights in Connecticut
The termination of parental rights in a probate court means that you are giving up any legal connection you have to your child. This is a very serious legal proceeding and it is important that you understand all of your rights prior to giving them up. It is equally important to consult with an attorney before consenting to the other parent terminating their parental rights.
Giving up one’s rights includes giving up the relationship with your child, responsibilities to your child, as well as your rights as a parent to make decisions for your child. This must occur if the court determines that you are unfit to be a parent. It is important to keep in mind that once terminated, your parental rights will never be restored.
It is equally important to consult with an attorney if your spouse or the other parent is trying to give up parental rights. Once rights are terminated, since there isn’t a legal connection to the child, there is no remaining claim for child support.
Petitioning for Termination of Parental Rights
There are many people who can petition for the termination of parental rights. This includes one parent or both parents of the child, the child’s guardian, any selectman of a town that has charge of the child, an officer of the child-care agency, a relative of the child in the case that the parent(s) have abandoned the child, or the Commissioner of DCF. Keep in mind that if the child is over the age of 12, they must join in the petition.
The petitioner for the termination of parental rights must prove to the probate court why the termination of rights is in the best interest of the child. Grounds for termination vary, but generally they include abandonment by the parent or denial by the parent. Denial of a parent to provide for their child can include sexual or physical abuse, denying emotional, educational, or moral needs that the child has, or failing to explain serious injuries.
Furthermore, if there is no ongoing relationship between the parent and child, the parent’s rights can be terminated. If the parent is a convicted felon, the court also has the right to terminate parental rights at any time after conviction.
A termination of parental rights request, even if requested by consent, is not guaranteed to be entered and accepted by the court. If it can be proven that it is in a child’s best interest for termination of parental rights, the child will either lose one parent or possibly both, allowing them to be eligible for adoption. Remember that this is a very serious process and the results are permanent. If you are unsure if you qualify for termination of parental rights, or if you do not want your rights to be terminated, seek the help of an attorney.
Parenting Education Programs
The state of Connecticut requires all parents involved in divorce to attend a parenting program. This request is court ordered, and if you fail to attend the parenting program, legal action can be taken against you. Parenting Education Programs (PEP) consists of classes that seek to help parents understand and properly address issues that children experience when their parents divorce. A PEP will show parents how to help their children deal with the divorce in a healthy way, ultimately improving the child’s relationship with both parents. Not just parents involved in divorce are asked to attend a parenting program. If you face any of the following, the court can ask you to enroll in a PEP:
- Custody case
- Visitation case
- Legal Separation
All parents with children under the age of eighteen must participate in a PEP. You must enroll in a parenting program within the 60 days after your divorce gets filed with the court. To register for a parenting education program, you have to fill out the Parenting Education Program-Order, Certificate, and Results Form. You can obtain this form at a judicial district clerk’s office, the judicial branch’s website, or a court service center. Some lawyers or the program itself might also provide this form.
Once you fill out this form, you should contact the program director to ask about additional registration information, when and where the class takes place, and the program’s fees. You should bring a parenting education certification form with you to your classes and when you complete the program, this should get signed. This will show a court that you adequately completed the program.