Page 61 - 2011 Guide to Family Violence Laws

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56
certain conditions on his visits for
your own protection and safety. You
may request that visits take place
only at certain times, certain places,
or with another person present. For
example, if you don't want the father
to come to your home or know
where you live, you may request
that visits take place at a friend's or
relative's home. Or, if you are afraid
that the father will hurt the children
or disappear with them, you may
request that visits only take place
with someone else there, such as a
friend or relative. This is known as
supervised visitation. If the father
comes to court to argue against any
of these conditions, the judge will
consider both sides of the story, and
will try to make a decision based on
the "best interests of the children,"
just as with custody disputes.
How do I get a court order for
custody or visitation?
If you are going to court to request a
restraining order, you may ask the
judge to make orders concerning
custody and visitation at the same
time. Remember, custody and
visitation orders in a restraining
order are temporary and will usually
only last for 6 months. If you are
starting a divorce, and papers
requesting temporary orders have
been filed, the judge may also make
orders about custody and visitation.
Otherwise, you will have to start a
new case for custody or visitation;
you will probably need the
assistance of a lawyer to do this.
I am an immigrant. Can I ask the
court for custody of my children?
Yes. Connecticut’s laws about child
custody apply to all people
regardless of their immigration
status. If your situation meets the
other legal requirements that apply
to all people, you can ask the court
for custody of your child.
When the court makes decisions
about custody it will apply the same
legal standard of “best interest of
the child.”
If my children are being hit or
neglected, am I responsible?
Yes. Connecticut has very strong
laws to protect children from abuse.
You have the responsibility to keep
your children from being abused, as
best you can. If someone in your
home hurts your children, and you
are not able to stop it, the
Department of Children and
Families (DCF) may come in and
remove your children from the home
in order to protect them. If they feel
that it's an emergency, they will
remove the children right away. You
will have an opportunity later to get
a lawyer and to have a court hearing
in order to try to get them back.
If the situation is not an emergency,
a DCF worker may talk to you and
try to help you work things out at
home. In these situations, you may
want to consider having the person
abusing your children arrested or
ordered out of the house by a civil
restraining order or criminal
protective order.
Can I collect child support from
the father?
If the father of your children has
any money or income, you should be