Why are Mothers Most Often Awarded Child Custody?

Why are Mothers Most Often Awarded Child Custody

Though child custody laws generally no longer presume that children should stay with their mother after a divorce, the fact is that mothers are still awarded custody of their children more often than fathers. So what is the reason for this?

First, courts more often find that the mother meets the qualifications for being considered the “primary caregiver.” This is the parent that is best able to meet the needs of the child and who has been shown to be the one meeting the majority of the child’s everyday needs. In many families these tasks are evenly split between parents, and there are some stay-at-home dads that bear the majority of the responsibility for these types of tasks.

However, there are still many more women in stay-at-home or caregiving roles, even despite the fact that many more women are in full-time jobs than in the past. This means that there is still a disparity between men and women in terms of who is likely to be considered the primary caregiver. I’ve seen this many times as a child custody lawyer.

Because of the importance of the primary caregiver, it’s important that both parents do everything they can to handle daily childcare tasks if they believe that a divorce is coming. Courts are much more likely to split child support arrangements more evenly if they see both parents contributing at near equal levels to everyday parenting tasks.

Another key aspect of custody arrangements is the bond between parent and child. Numerous studies have shown that younger children are more likely to have a closer bond to their mother. This isn’t a reflection of the father’s parenting ability so much as it is the kind of roles that parents have at extremely young ages. Therefore, courts are going to be more likely to place very young children with their mothers.

The Effects of Relocation on Child Custody

When a former spouse or partner wants to relocate with your children, it can have a significant effect on your entire family. No matter the reason for the move, divorced parents must follow certain guidelines set forth by the state and through the couple’s divorce agreement.

Providing notice

Custodial parents cannot relocate with children without first providing written notice to the noncustodial parent. Individuals with custody must allow enough time for the noncustodial parent to raise concerns about the move, or challenge the decision in court.

Objecting to relocation

As a noncustodial parent, you may object to your spouse’s move by filing a motion with the court. During your hearing, you can present your case to a judge who will weigh the impact of the move against the best interests of the children. Judges typically consider the reason for the move, the relationship between each parent and their children, the affect the move will have on the children’s quality of life and the affect the relocation will have on relationships with parents and extended family.

Justifying the move

If you are the parent who wishes to relocate, you must provide solid evidence that your move is in the best interests of your children. Relocation hearings are taken seriously, and the judge will want to ensure that you are not relocating your children to physically or emotionally distance them from their other parent. In certain cases, judges may even consider granting custody to the parent who does not move, in an effort to maintain stability for the children.

If your move is approved, the judge will most likely require that a parenting plan be put in place. Such plans may outline specifics related to visitation, long-distance communication, travel expenses and more.

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


Recent Posts

Children of Wealthier Parents More Affected by Divorce

Securities Fraud Lawyer

Proving Parental Alienation

Reasons People Get Divorced

False Accusations of Abuse During Divorce

FAQ About Open Adoptions

How a Child’s Preference Affects Custody

How a Child's Preference Affects Custody

A child’s preference for living with a parent can affect child custody decisions in many states, including Utah. However, while most judges will consider a stated preference, they are still obligated to rule in a way that protects a child’s best interest.  This means that a child’s preference is not the only factor the court will look at – there are about 25 factors.  This is just 1.

Judges have a great deal of leeway when they make custody decisions. Among the factors they may consider are:

  • Custody preferences of each parent
  • Child’s custody preference, but only if they are old enough to fully comprehend the implications of their choice
  • State of a parent and/or child’s physical and emotional health
  • Perceived stability and resources offered by each parent
  • Potential impact on home and social life, including school and community participation
  • Whether or not parents desire to help sustain a relationship with the other parent
  • History of domestic violence, if applicable

Although all of these issues are generally considered, the safety of the child is of primary importance in a custody decision.

What’s more, while the desire of the child is always taken into account, the older a child is the greater consideration a preference is given. If a child is 13 years of age or older, their preference is given greater weight since they are considered to be more independent and less likely to be manipulated in their choice. Additionally, siblings are typically kept together, although a judge may separate them if he or she believes it to be in a child’s best interest.

In most cases, children are not compelled to testify in court about their desires to live with a particular parent. Sometimes a law guardian is appointed to interview the child and identify his or her needs and desires, or an “in camera” interview is conducted which records the interview that is later transcribed.

Special Factors Influence Child Support Amounts

In Utah, there are certain formulas that judges use to calculate how much child support is owed by one parent to another after a divorce. If you feel as though your case may be an exception to the rule, you have the ability to inform the judge of special circumstances.

Examples of situations where child support may need to be more than what the guidelines suggest may include the following:

  • You have a child with special needs.

    If a child is disabled or has special needs that require additional care or medical treatment, state-recommended child support amounts may not be enough to provide proper care for your child. Increased support may also be needed to maintain a child’s particular passion for an interest such as a musical instrument or membership in a sport’s team.

  • Your spouse earns considerably more than you do.

    If you have primary custody of your children, but your child’s other parent makes a significant amount more than you do, a judge may require the noncustodial parent to pay more than the state’s recommendation. This can also apply if the child’s noncustodial parent has a substantial amount of assets, or if their job provides special compensation measures such as company-provided cars or housing.

Conversely, situations exist where a parent may be required to pay less than what is typically required, including:

  • A noncustodial parent does not have adequate funds.

    Sometimes a parent has experienced a change in their income level and is no longer able to pay the same amount of child support. In this case, a judge may reexamine the total child support required and lower it to a manageable amount.

  • The state’s guideline requires an excess of the child’s situation.

    If a noncustodial parent earns a salary that is greatly above the average person’s income, the state-guided formulas may require a payment of more than what is needed. In this case, the court may lower child support payments to a reasonable amount for the parents’ and child’s circumstances.

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


Recent Posts

Paying the Debts of a Deceased Relative

Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number

Documents to Bring to Divorce Lawyer

Estate Planning Terms

Tips for Surviving Divorce Settlement Talks

Get Your Employees CPR and First Aid Certified

Mothers and Child Custody

Mothers and Child Custody

In years past, it was usually a given in Utah courts that child custody went to the mother upon divorce. The tender years of a child coupled with a cultural norm carried the day for mom. This may still be true in some cases—but usually not without a fight.

Today more fathers are seeking custody of their children. The best custody arrangement supports the relationship of children with both parents. However, from years of experience litigating and winning tough child custody cases, our family law attorneys understand some fathers just want to fight, or even seek custody only to reduce child support payments.

Presumption of maternal custody by courts has given way to the best interests of a child. Instead of finding a parent unfit, litigants must now prove, and courts must find, that custody with one parent or the other is in the best interests of the child.

In shifting toward best interest factors, courts now consider the history of care giving. Was the mother the primary caregiver? Did parents split parenting equally? Which parent has a more flexible work schedule?

Regardless of economic and technological changes, the roles of mothers and fathers will always be different in the world of a child. The majority of older children expressing a preference choose to stay with mom.

But custody for mothers is no longer a given. Do not make the mistake of assuming it is. Hire experienced attorneys who will fight without hesitation to protect the well-being of you and your children.

How a Child’s Age Can Influence Custody Disputes

In the past, many jurisdictions in the United States relied upon the tender years doctrine in child custody cases. This doctrine essentially created a presumption in favor of the mother in custody disputes involving children under a certain age.

Most states, including Utah, have departed from this doctrine as an officially recognized principle of law. Nevertheless, as a practical matter, it is very common for family courts in Utah to hold an unspoken and unofficial preference for the mother in custody cases involving young children.

As a general rule, the younger the child is, the stronger the preference for granting custody to the mother. For fathers seeking joint or sole custody of a young child, this can be a difficult hurdle. Because this preference is not an official point of law, it is difficult to attack directly. There is no roadmap delineating how a father can overcome the presumption in favor of the mother. The best option for a custody-seeking father is to retain an experienced lawyer to see to it that his interests are fully represented.

Our knowledgeable family law attorneys can help facilitate negotiation and settlement prior to trial on custody matters—the stage at which an agreement granting joint custody is more likely. For cases where the other parent is unwilling to negotiate or where a client seeks sole custody, we use our extensive trial experience to zealously and effectively advocate on his or her behalf in the courtroom.

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


Additional Child Support Articles

Utah Motorcycle Attorney

Ending a Common Law Marriage

Legal Separation FAQs

Alcohol Can Be a Problem for Child Custody

Estate Planning Lawyer

Entitlement and Lawsuits

Interstate Enforcement of Child Custody

Interstate Enforcement of Child Custody

As our society has become increasingly mobile, multistate child custody disputes have become more common. Fortunately, the states have adopted a uniform method for determining which state has jurisdiction over a child custody dispute. They also have agreed to honor custody determinations made by the courts of other states.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) has been adopted by Utah and every other state. This law identifies which state exercises jurisdiction in child custody matters. A state has jurisdiction when:

  • The state is the child’s home state, meaning he or she lived there for at least six months before the proceeding.
  • The state was the child’s home state at some point during the preceding six months and one parent still lives there.
  • No other state has jurisdiction or the state, or states with jurisdiction have declined to exercise it, and the child has a significant connection to the state.

Once a state has exercised jurisdiction under the UCCJEA, no other state may assert jurisdiction or modify that state’s custody order, except in emergency cases involving an imminent risk of harm to the child. This is intended to prevent forum shopping, parental kidnapping and conflicting court orders.

Study Closely Analyzes 50-50 Custody After Divorce

A new study from Arizona State University has found that shared, 50-50 custody could be better for most children and parents alike after a divorce.

In many situations, children (especially young children) have a parent who has primary physical custody after a divorce, with the noncustodial parent getting visitation rights or occasional custody, and both parents sharing legal custody. However, the results from this recent study indicate children could benefit from having as close to equal time with both parents as possible after a divorce.

According to the study’s main author, the findings show that children who have good relationships with both parents are more likely to have better physical and mental health later in life. For example, children who had overnight visits with their fathers as infants and toddlers had higher-quality relationships with both their fathers and mothers both when they were 18 to 20 years old when compared to children who had no overnight visits with their fathers.

The study also concluded that an equal sharing of custody after divorce was more beneficial to mothers than the standard model of custody that has become so prevalent in America, in which children have one primary physical guardian. By spending more time with their fathers during infancy and toddlerhood, children had stronger relationships with their mothers — in addition to their fathers — later in life.

The study has gained national attention among sociologists and psychologists, and while it is not likely to influence the way courts determine child custody arrangements anytime soon, its results are certainly worth analyzing.

Grounds a Parent Can Use to Seek Full Custody or Child Support

In making decisions about child custody and support, Utah family courts consider many factors, including the maturity, morality, and stability of each parent and their willingness to make decisions in the best interest of their children. They also consider how well each parent communicates and cooperates with the other on matters related to their child.

Utah courts frown upon the unwillingness of one parent to honor the parenting time of the other since children need time with both parents. In addition, unauthorized relocation or abduction of the child to a distant location requires the support of an aggressive and skillful attorney to protect your rights—and the health and well-being of your child.

Well-being of the child is paramount

Ultimately, the family courts put the interests of children first. In cases where the minor child is old enough, his or her wishes may be taken into consideration. In addition, one parent might receive sole custody if the other has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse. However, if one of the parents makes unfounded accusations of child abuse against the other, this could also result in a loss of custody.

In Utah, child support payments are largely based upon income, according to statutory guidelines and formulas[CK1] published on the Utah Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website. The higher wage earner usually pays a higher percentage of child support. However, courts consider special circumstances affecting the family, such as the special medical needs of the child and educational needs of either parent.

Best to determine your own settlement

It is advisable for divorcing spouses to negotiate the terms of their own divorce settlement. After all, they know their unique family dynamics best. If parting spouses cannot agree on issues like child custody or support, the courts make the decision for them. And if either party lies about his or her income or hides financial assets during the divorce proceeding, and it is uncovered afterwards, the divorce case could be reopened and the lying spouse penalized.

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


Recent Posts

Should You File For Divorce Before Your Spouse

Appeals and Motions to Modify a Decree

What you need to know about form 10-k and 10-q and 8-k

Business Planning and Protection

Impact of Divorce on Retirement

Severance Agreement Lawyer

Getting Custody of Your Child in Utah

Getting Custody of Your Child in Utah

Every good parent wants the best for their child, which is why child custody cases are so contentious. These cases are often emotional and can be difficult on both the parents and children involved.

FILING A MOTION

The first step in getting custody of your child in Utah is to file a motion. This can often be the result of a divorce and will be passed through to a Utah Juvenile Court in your area.

If both parents are in agreement about the conditions of the child’s custody, then they may file a motion together. This will take much of the contention out of these cases and the outcome will be resolved much quicker.

If the parents are in disagreement, however, then each parent will submit their own custody plan. The court will look over both plans and look into what is in the best interest of the child.

THE CHILD’S BEST INTEREST

Regardless of your personal feelings, the court will look at your situation from the most logical point of view possible. The decision of who gets custody and which type of custody is granted will focus on what the court determines to be in the child’s best interest.

This may seem a bit vague, but this is meant to be fairly open ended since no situation is identical to another. The court will determine the best interest by investigating both parental parties and conducting relevant research. Some things the court might look into are:

  • Evaluations: Often times, the court will order medical, psychological, and psychiatric evaluations to be performed on both the parents and the child or children.
  • Financial Situations: Financial situations may not matter as much as the evaluations, however, it can sway the court’s decision. A parent’s ability to provide for their child is important in the court’s eyes.
  • Prior Conduct: Any prior convictions, misdemeanors, or felonies could also have an impact on what the court deems to be in the best interest of the child.
  • Family Relations: Family is another important aspect that courts consider, especially in Utah. Family assistance and presence can influence the decision.
  • Parental Character: The way you hold yourself in court and the level of respect you give the judge is also crucial to getting custody of your child. This also has a connection to your prior conduct.

Salt Lake City Estate Planning and Family Businesses

Giving your children and grandchildren the legacy and pride of a family business can keep your nose to the grindstone for decades. Financial security, family harmony, and growing wealth together are some of the benefits of a family business. Legacies are meant to outlive the legacy makers. If you’re a business owner in Utah, don’t hesitate to consult an estate lawyer to help you plan for the future.

No one would blame you for wanting to put off estate planning; after all, time is money, and you’d rather be building your business and enjoying the fruit of your labor. However, a smooth transition planned by a Salt Lake City estate lawyer saves time and money in the long run.

Passing your business on to your loved ones takes more than simply stating that you’d like your children to inherit your business. Essentially, bestowing a business to your children may make them subject to a hefty gift tax that may greatly diminish their gain. You can avoid this pitfall and protect your wealth by having a lawyer help you plan your estate so your heirs get as much of your estate as possible.

A Salt Lake City estate lawyer knows Utah business and estate law. He or she will remain objective and allow you to plan as you see fit. For example, your lawyer will help you create an equitable distribution among your children. However, if you don’t want to split your business evenly between all your children, or if you want to leave different assets to the children, an estate lawyer can help you with that, too.

Say you have two adult children who help you run the business, but one minor child still in junior high school. You want to make sure your children have what they need upon your passing. Your adult children will inherit and run the business, but there’s no expectation for your minor child to decide now if she wants to work in the family business. Your Salt Lake City estate lawyer can help you create a trust for your youngest child so she benefits from the business without working for it or having a controlling interest.

An estate lawyer can also discuss the possibility of restructuring your company to ensure that company assets go to your children. If you have a sole proprietorship, your lawyer may discuss forming a corporation so you can separate the business’s assets and liabilities from your personal assets and liabilities, and portion interest into shares to divide equally among your children.

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


Recent Posts

What Not To Do If You’re About To Get Divorced

International Adoption

Different Kinds of Divorce in Utah

Interstate Custody Law

Should I Keep The House in Divorce?

How Do I Get The Most Money For My Personal Injury Case?

Child’s School Consistency in Divorce

Child's School Consistency in Divorce

Although it’s somewhat rare, it’s not unheard of for one parent to enroll children in a different school without the permission of the other parent or the court. Obviously, this is usually a problem when the two parents are separated or divorced. In some cases, children even go entirely un-enrolled because the parents have such contentious arguments about which school a child should attend.

It is an unfortunate reality that children sometimes get caught in the crossfire of a contentious divorce. Parents must make every effort to keep their children’s lives as normal and stable as possible, especially when it comes to their education.

Below are a few basic rules all parents should remember regarding this issue:

  • Consistency is crucial: A school is not just the building at which you drop off your kids. It is filled with important relationships your children have built with friends, teachers and staff. Their comfort in their school can help them through what is, even in the best cases, a stressful and turbulent home life.
  • Keep children in their school, if possible: If you can, keep your children in the schools they were already attending, unless both parents agree a move is for the better. Again, having this consistency and maintaining those relationships that have already been built is crucial.
  • Consider expenses: If your children have been attending private school before your divorce, there is a chance you will have to move your children to public school. Private school is often one of the first expenses to be removed after a divorce, as it can become too much for parents to handle.

Study Indicates Living with Partner Before Marriage Increases Likelihood of Divorce

If you have wondered whether living together before marriage has an impact on the quality of marriage, a new study from the Center for Marital and Family Studies indicates that it does. According to the survey performed by the organization targeting couples that have been married for fewer than 10 years, there appears to be a greater likelihood of divorce among couples that lived together before marriage.

The men who responded in the survey rated themselves as being “considerably lower” in how much they are dedicated to their spouses. Other studies performed by the organization have yielded the same findings for women, though to a smaller degree.

Meanwhile, survey respondents that were committed to marrying each other before they began living together did not experience the same lower levels of commitment exhibited in the cohabiting partners.

Researchers at the center posit that some of the men surveyed may have married their spouse even though they might not have done so had they not lived together. The term used was “deciding, not sliding.” The group of people not cohabiting had decided that they were going to be married, whereas the people living together were more likely to “slide” into a marriage because it was the natural next step.

Other statistics reflect the same conclusion. In 2010, the divorce rate for couples cohabiting before engagement was even 8 percent higher than couples cohabiting after engagement but before marriage.

The problem with living together, according to the researchers, is that it seems to be more difficult to “disentangle” yourself from the relationship should it appear to be coming to an end. Therefore it’s easier for people to try to fix the relationship, even if it doesn’t appear that it’s going to work.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


Recent Posts

Concealing Assets With Bitcoin in Divorce

Unmarried Partners Medical Directives and the Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

Paternity

Can Your Bankruptcy Be Denied

Children Leaving Foster Care

Common Divorce Myths

Children Leaving Foster Care

Children Leaving Foster Care

Children usually “age out” of foster care when they turn 18 years old, the age of emancipation in most states. However, there’s no set age that marks the end of foster care. Federal guidelines require states to assist children during their transition from foster care to independence, beginning as early as the state agencies find appropriate, and in some cases as early as age 13. We see this as a child custody lawyer and thought we should let you know.

The Aging Out Transition

When children age out of foster care, they become ineligible to receive state assistance with housing, food, and medical care under the foster care system. The federal government recognized that this and child custody became less of an issue, coupled with the fact that foster children typically already suffer ill-effects due to the lack of a stable home environment while growing up, was causing newly emancipated young adults to suffer higher rates of substance abuse, mental illness, teen pregnancy, homelessness, and arrests.

In response, the government created the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) under Title I of the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 to provide funding for states to assist youth (up to age 21) in foster care to make a smoother, more successful transition to adulthood. States use the funds to improve the quality of transitional support available to foster youth, including the following initiatives:

  • Promoting stable, permanent connections to caring adults
  • Helping youth manage and meet their health needs, often through temporary Medicaid coverage
  • Supporting economic success through educational vouchers to higher education institutions and employment programs
  • Providing life skills training to help youth navigate the adult world
  • Improving access to stable and safe housing, which varies between full assistance from age 18-21 to states where no financial assistance is available

What is Actually Provided for Foster Children Aging Out of the Foster Care System?

While the CFCIP sets federal guidelines for states to follow, it doesn’t mandate precisely what states must provide to foster children aging out of the system. As a result, benefits vary widely from state to state. To learn more about the federal guidelines and some instances that federal funding is unavailable, consult the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Child Welfare Policy Manual. Here are some additional resources to help you determine what kind of aid you might be eligible for:

  • Foster Care Alumni of America- Provides housing, education, health, and mental health resources. FCAA has state chapters in AZ, CA, CO, FL, ID, IL, KY, MA, MD, OH, TN, TX, and VA.
  • Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative – Provides financial support and advocacy for those aging out of the foster care system.
  • FosterClub – Online community to share stories and support foster care peers.
  • National Independent Living Association – Non-profit organization aiding those who have aged out of the foster care system to build healthy, stable independent lives. Offers seminars and mentors from all over the United States.
  • Foster Care to Success – America’s College Fund for Foster Youth. Aids young adults from foster care in obtaining and using the federally-funded vouchers for higher education.
  • Child Welfare League of America – Supports vulnerable children and families. Provides a wealth of links to resources for those aging out of foster care

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


Recent Posts

What To Do If Your Spouse Delays The Divorce Process

Types of Child Custody

Parenting Agreement

Terminating Parental Rights

Real Estate Investment Company in Utah

Concealing Assets With Bitcoin in Divorce