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Will Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody in Utah?

Will Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody in Utah

When two parents divorce, there are a number of decisions they must make. These include dividing their assets, setting up spousal support and deciding with whom their children will live. This is common from what I’ve seen as a Child Custody Lawyer. In the best situations, parents will mutually agree to a child custody arrangement that is in the best interest of their children. However, occasionally one will believe the other is unfit to parent and should not have custody of their children. This is particularly common in situations involving domestic violence.

Under Utah law, when parents cannot agree to an arrangement on child custody, they will petition the court for assistance in deciding. Courts endeavor to serve the best interests of a child and take a variety of factors into consideration to determine what is best for the child. These factors include the parents’ respective willingness to offer support and care, the child’s relationship with each of the parents and the parents’ fitness as parents. This last category can be severely affected by a parent’s history of domestic violence.

Utah takes allegations of domestic violence very seriously. In fact, the state has a statute that requires courts to consider the effects of it when making custody determinations. Even if a child was not abused or the domestic violence occurred only once, it can strongly reflect on a parent’s ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment for a child. If a court believes the parent has a propensity for abuse, that parent may not obtain full or partial custody of the child.

Uncontested Divorce in Utah: First Look

When a marriage dissolves, there are a number of situations that may arise. Occasionally, both spouses will not both agree to the divorce or on some aspect of the divorce, such as property division. In those cases, the case would proceed as a contested divorce. Alternatively, sometimes both parties will agree on all terms of the divorce. Under those circumstances, there is no need for the parties to have a trial, as the divorce is uncontested.

Uncontested divorces are much less expensive, time-consuming and stressful. Divorce trials often require couples to share private and sometimes embarrassing details of their marriage in a public forum. Rather than coming to an agreement about the terms of the divorce, the couple leaves these decisions to a judge who does not know them and can often make an imprecise determination as to what is in the best interest of the couple and any children they may have.

To qualify for an uncontested divorce, a couple must reach a number of agreements. They must agree to the ground of the divorce, the division of assets and debts, custody of any child, as well as alimony and support payments.

An uncontested divorce does not mean that the spouses will not have attorneys, though they are not required to. Many hire attorneys to help them advocate for their rights and assist in the process. Experienced attorneys are skilled in negotiating the terms of a divorce, including property division, alimony, child support and custody. When divorcing spouses hire attorneys for these negotiations, they are often more quickly able to reach an agreement and can avoid landing in court for a divorce trial.

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you have domestic violence issues that need to be brought up in your case, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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