2018 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 46b - Family Law
Chapter 815j - Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation and Annulment
Section 46b-59 - Petition for right of visitation with minor child. Order for payment of fees.

Universal Citation: CT Gen Stat § 46b-59 (2018)

(a) As used in this section:

(1) “Grandparent” means a grandparent or great-grandparent related to a minor child by (A) blood, (B) marriage, or (C) adoption of the minor child by a child of the grandparent; and

(2) “Real and significant harm” means that the minor child is neglected, as defined in section 46b-120, or uncared for, as defined in said section.

(b) Any person may submit a verified petition to the Superior Court for the right of visitation with any minor child. Such petition shall include specific and good-faith allegations that (1) a parent-like relationship exists between the person and the minor child, and (2) denial of visitation would cause real and significant harm. Subject to subsection (e) of this section, the court shall grant the right of visitation with any minor child to any person if the court finds after hearing and by clear and convincing evidence that a parent-like relationship exists between the person and the minor child and denial of visitation would cause real and significant harm.

(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.

(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.

(e) If the Superior Court grants the right of visitation pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the court shall set forth the terms and conditions of visitation including, but not limited to, the schedule of visitation, including the dates or days, time and place or places in which the visitation can occur, whether overnight visitation will be allowed and any other terms and conditions that the court determines are in the best interest of the minor child, provided such conditions shall not be contingent upon any order of financial support by the court. In determining the best interest of the minor child, the court shall consider the wishes of the minor child if such minor child is of sufficient age and capable of forming an intelligent opinion. In determining the terms and conditions of visitation, the court may consider (1) the effect that such visitation will have on the relationship between the parents or guardians of the minor child and the minor child, and (2) the effect on the minor child of any domestic violence that has occurred between or among parents, grandparents, persons seeking visitation and the minor child.

(f) Visitation rights granted in accordance with this section shall not be deemed to have created parental rights in the person or persons to whom such visitation rights are granted, nor shall such visitation rights be a ground for preventing the relocation of the custodial parent. The grant of such visitation rights shall not prevent any court of competent jurisdiction from thereafter acting upon the custody of such child, the parental rights with respect to such child or the adoption of such child and any such court may include in its decree an order terminating such visitation rights.

(g) Upon motion, the court may order the payment of fees for another party, the attorney for the minor child, the guardian ad litem, or any expert by any party in accordance with such party's financial ability.

(P.A. 78-69; P.A. 79-8; P.A. 83-95; P.A. 12-137, S. 1; P.A. 13-97, S. 6.)

History: P.A. 79-8 added proviso specifying that grant of visitation rights is not contingent upon order for financial support; P.A. 83-95 deleted provisions re visitation rights of grandparents and permitted court to grant right of visitation to any person; P.A. 12-137 deleted former provisions re granting right of visitation, orders according to court's best judgment and making, modifying or terminating orders, designated provisions re parental rights, custody and adoption as Subsec. (f) and amended same to add provision re relocation and added Subsecs. (a) to (e) and (g) re petition for right of visitation with minor child and re order for payment of fees; P.A. 13-97 amended Subsec. (e) by replacing reference to Subsec. (c) with reference to Subsec. (b), effective June 6, 2013.

See chapter 815p re Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

See Sec. 46b-80 et seq. re support of child and spouse and transfer of property.

Cited. 208 C. 404; 209 C. 407. Constitutional validity of section not ripe for adjudication without fact-specific balancing of interests. 214 C. 232. Cited. 217 C. 459; 234 C. 51; 236 C. 582. Trial court lacked jurisdiction to decide issue of visitation; provisions of section as they related to provisions of Secs. 46b-56 and 46b-57 discussed. 239 C. 336. Implicit in statute is rebuttable presumption that visitation that is opposed by a fit parent is not in child's best interest; for a court to have jurisdiction over petition for visitation contrary to wishes of a parent and to grant such petition, petition must contain specific, good faith allegations that petitioner has a relationship with the child that is similar in nature to a parent-child relationship and specific, good faith allegations that denial of visitation will cause real and significant harm to the child, analogous to the kind of harm contemplated by Secs. 46b-120 and 46b-129, that child is neglected, uncared-for or dependent, and petitioner must prove allegations by clear and convincing evidence; statute is unconstitutional as applied to facts in this case. 259 C. 202. Trial court did not have jurisdiction over petition for visitation pursuant to statute that is contrary to the wishes of a fit parent in the absence of allegations and proof that plaintiff had a parent-like relationship with the child and that the child would suffer real and significant harm if deprived of visitation with plaintiff. Id., 240. 259 C. 202 applies retrospectively. 272 C. 500. Where unrelated plaintiff had parent-like relationship with child sufficient for visitation rights, court improperly refused to grant visitation due to concern that defendant would cause child damage in retaliation, and court should have invoked its authority to compel defendant's compliance with visitation order; “best interest of the child” standard cannot overcome the standard in 259 C. 202 for ordering visitation. 300 C. 59.

Cited. 11 CA 43. An encompassing, not limiting, statute. 17 CA 427. Cited. 34 CA 129; judgment reversed, see 234 C. 51. Action for abuse of process under statute does not lie. 52 CA 123. Trial court properly dismissed grandparents' application for visitation with grandchildren due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction as the application contained no specific, good faith allegations as to nature of relationship between the grandparents and grandchildren, and significant harm to grandchildren that would result if the application for visitation were not granted. 103 CA 125.

Separation of parties in same sex relationship constituted disruption of family unit and conferred standing upon plaintiff noncustodial parent to petition for visitation rights with minor child conceived through artificial insemination who had been jointly raised by coguardian same sex partners. 46 CS 165.

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