Can a single gay individual adopt a child in Connecticut?
Yes. More information on adopting in CT can be found, here.
When a married couple divorces, the parties are encouraged to make their own agreement about custody and visitation. If they can’t reach an agreement, a Superior Court judge will make a custody and visitation determination based the best interests of the child (Conn. Gen. Stat. sec. 46b-56(b). A court considers all relevant factors, keeping in mind a child’s growth, development, well-being, and the continuity and stability of their environment (Cappetta v. Cappetta, 196 Conn. 10, 16, 490 A.2d 996, 999 (1985)).
In all contested cases, the judge will appoint a family relations officer to investigate in order to help the judge arrive at a decision. The investigation can touch on matters of “parentage and surroundings of any child, [the child’s] age, habits and history, inquiry into the home conditions, habits and characters of his parents or guardians and evaluation of his mental or physical condition” (Conn. Gen. Stat. sec. 46b-6).
Yes (Conn. Gen. Stat. sec. 46b-56(a)). Four kinds:
“Sole legal custody” means that only one parent has the right to make major life decisions for the child, including matters of education, medical care, and emotional, moral and religious development.
“Shared legal custody” means that both parents are involved in and make these decisions.
“Sole physical custody” means that a child lives with and is under the supervision of only one parent, subject to reasonable visitation with the other parent, unless a court finds that visitation is not in the child’s best interests.
“Shared physical custody” means that the child resides with both parents in a way which ensures frequent contact with both.
The court may also award custody to a third party if it finds it to be in the child’s best interests (Id).
As stated above, Connecticut courts base custody arrangements on the best interests of the child. As a general rule, a parent’s sexual orientation or marital status should have no bearing on a child’s best interests.
Nevertheless, your former partner may try to argue that your sexual orientation is detrimental to your child. Any number of reasons can be cited, such as that the LGBT parent’s sexual orientation is causing other people to tease or ostracize the child, that the parent is a bad role model, or that the parent’s new partner is not good for the child. In the overwhelming majority of circumstances, these matters can be answered to the satisfaction of a judge in a way which does not penalize the gay parent or the child. Contact GLAD for further resources for dealing with such a situation.
It may make a difference with respect to future modification of court orders for custody. People can seek to modify court orders for custody when there has been a change in circumstances which alters the child’s best interests (see generally, Conn. Gen. Stat. sec. 46b-56). If a spouse did not know of your sexual orientation at the time of the court proceedings but learns it later, they may argue that this is a change of circumstances and that the custody issues should be litigated anew.
Courts have the power to do this, but should not do so unless it is clearly in the best interests of the child. Connecticut courts have rejected the notion that any particular lifestyle, in and of itself, will harm a child and insist on specific proof.
Same-sex couples with children who are breaking up should:
For more detailed information about these standards see the publication Protecting Families: Standards for LGBT Families at: Protecting Families: Standards for LGBT Families.