If you and your spouse have children and are going through a divorce, or if you guys have some kids and were never married, you may end up in a child custody battle. If this is your situation, it is very important to know about the “best interests of the child” standard and how it will impact your proceedings – whether it is divorce or paternity or child custody. When parents cannot agree on child custody terms, a court may have to use the best interest standard to determine which parent receives primary custody – legal and physical custody.
If a child custody decision goes to court, judges in Utah consider their primary concern to be the well-being and best interests of the child. Custody decisions are determined based on which parent can best provide for the health, safety and overall happiness of the child.
A judge will review a case to piece together the family’s situation and each parent’s ability to provide care. They will also look into the health of the parents, and existing relationships between family members before making a decision in the best interest of the child.
Best Interests in Utah
Custody of a child — as well as visitation rights of noncustodial parents — are awarded based on the judge’s analysis of certain situational factors. While each custody hearing is different, some issues that may pertain to the judge’s decision include whether one parent is the child’s primary caregiver, the parenting skills of each spouse, mental and physical well-being of parents, availability and work schedules of parents and each spouse’s ability to cooperate with each other.
Additionally, a court may weigh the importance of the child’s relationships with their siblings, or if the child is old enough, his or her custody preferences. Together, these factors provide a clearer picture for the judge as to which living situation – think about how is each parent behaving and where will the child not just survive – is in the best interest of the child.
Actions You Should Take
It’s not uncommon for child custody disputes to grow bitter and lead to long, drawn-out court battles. Both parent understandably wants as much time with their children as possible, and they do not want to have to compromise on child support arrangements.
There are some actions that parents can take during custody hearings and divorce proceedings that can make it tougher for them to get the custody arrangement they desire. Examples may include: (1) Committing any type of crime. You’ll have a hard time earning favor with judges if you commit a crime, even a misdemeanor, while you are seeking to gain custody of your children. Keep your record clean. (2) Badmouthing your former partner. Judges discourage parents from making disparaging remarks about the other parent in front of their children as it could damage the relationship that children have with their mother or father. If you engage in this type of behavior, it is less likely that you will get custody of your children.
(3) Any Type of Abusive behavior. For obvious reasons, any abusive behavior you exhibit toward your spouse or your children will essentially disqualify you from child custody and will likely lead to further legal trouble for you.(4) and Taking your children out of state. If you take your children out of state or elsewhere with the motivation of preventing courts from revoking your custody rights, you are making matters significantly worse on yourself. This basically amounts to kidnapping, and you will face criminal charges in addition to losing any chance at maintaining custody of your children.
Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer
If you have a question about child custody question or if you need help with custody, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506