If you are living with a spouse and your marriage breaks down, the law says that you have to separate. If you can’t agree on who should have custody of the children, the court will decide.
The judge will look at the “best interests” of both the children and the adults. The judge may ask a social worker to prepare a report. This is called a custody evaluation. These are very expensive. In most cases, judges say that it is in the best interest of children to spend as much time as possible with their mother and to have as much contact as possible with their father. Courts in Utah are moving more toward joint physical custody or something close to it.
An important part of the decision about who gets custody is who has been caring for the child or children before divorce proceedings started. Usually this means that if one person has been mostly taking care of the child or children, that person will be given custody unless there are very good reasons not to do so. If both parents have been taking care of them, then whoever the judge thinks would be better able to continue doing so gets custody.
In my opinion, no one is entitled to custody of a child (or children) except for the biological parents. I base my decision on the following:
First, the best interest of a child should be considered. So, the first criteria that should be used should be whether or not it is in the child’s best interest to have custody with either parent.
Second, if there are two or more people who are interested in having custody, the decision should be based on which parent can make sure that their home environment is one where the child will have a better chance of growing up safe and happy. This would mean that there should be no drugs, no alcohol, and no violence in the home of a potential custodial parent. Also, it would mean that there should be plenty of positive adult interaction as well as emotional support for the child from both parents and also from other members of the family unit such as grandparents and other relatives.
With that said, a court can rule differently. If you need help with custody issues, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation.
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It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
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