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