Decoding Connecticut Judges’ Approach to Determining the Best Interest of a Child in Rulings

When it comes to family law cases involving children, determining the best interest of the child is of paramount importance. In Connecticut, judges play a vital role in making decisions that protect and promote the well-being of children. This blog post aims to shed light on how Connecticut judges approach the task of determining what is in the best interest of a child while making rulings.

Primary Considerations:

Connecticut judges consider several factors to assess the best interest of a child. The Connecticut General Statutes Section 46b-56(c) outlines the primary considerations that guide judges in their decision-making process. These considerations include:

a. The child’s wishes: If the child is of sufficient age and maturity, their wishes may be given some weight. However, the final decision ultimately lies with the judge.

b. The child’s developmental needs: Judges consider the child’s age, physical and emotional health, and developmental stage. This helps them gauge the level of care and support required.

c. The parents’ wishes: The judge takes into account the parents’ respective wishes, as long as they align with the child’s best interest. However, the court may override parental wishes if they are not in the child’s best interest.

d. The child’s relationship with each parent: Judges evaluate the quality and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent. This includes assessing the level of involvement, emotional bond, and the ability of each parent to provide a safe and nurturing environment.

Additional Factors:

In addition to the primary considerations, Connecticut judges also take into account a range of additional factors that influence the best interest determination:

a. The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community: Judges analyze how a potential change in custody or visitation arrangements might impact the child’s overall stability and adjustment.

b. Any history of abuse or domestic violence: Courts prioritize the safety and well-being of the child and will carefully examine any allegations or evidence of abuse or domestic violence.

c. Parental capacity to provide for the child’s needs: Judges evaluate the ability of each parent to meet the child’s physical, emotional, educational, and medical needs. Factors such as financial stability, parenting skills, and mental health are taken into account.

d. Co-parenting ability: Connecticut judges encourage parents to foster a cooperative and supportive co-parenting relationship. The willingness and ability of parents to effectively communicate, cooperate, and make joint decisions for the child’s benefit are considered.

The Role of Expert Witnesses:

In some cases, judges may seek the assistance of expert witnesses, such as child psychologists, therapists, or social workers. These experts provide professional insights and evaluations that assist the court in determining the child’s best interest. Their reports and testimony can help judges make informed decisions.


Connecticut judges bear the weighty responsibility of determining what is in the best interest of a child during family law cases. By considering the child’s wishes, developmental needs, parental wishes, and relationships, along with additional factors like adjustment, abuse history, parental capacity, and co-parenting ability, judges strive to make fair and informed rulings. The ultimate goal is to protect the child’s well-being and ensure they have the opportunity to thrive in a nurturing and supportive environment.