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.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506