Guidelines and Suggestions to Win or Maintain Child Custody
- Custody is not an automatic process where the parent with the best intent always prevails.
- Avoid costly mistakes that you cannot afford to make with your children. They are depending on you. Never jeopardize your parenting rights with poor decisions. You must always protect your position and parenting rights.
- Do not deny statutory visitation. That is called parental alienation. Visitation has no correlation with payment of child support.
- Always take into consideration what is in the best interests of your child.
- Never neglect your children. Take meticulous care of your children.
- Do not maintain poor living conditions. Keep your home clean and repaired.
- Do not verbally or mentally abuse your child. If you are frustrated take a time out and then deal with situations with consideration of the future.
- Never physically abuse your child or expose your child to any kind of domestic violence. Exposure with domestic violence with a new partner could jeopardize your parenting position.
- Never expose your child to drugs or alcohol abuse.
- Never drive under the influence at all but most certainly with your children in the vehicle.
- Do not do any kind of parental alienation that includes talking bad about the other parent to your children or not allowing or monitoring telephone contact or refusing statutory or court ordered visitation.
- You always want to do want you have been court ordered to do to look the best in the eyes of the court.
- Be careful if re-marrying or exposing your children to a new partner. Be certain that the new partner is of high quality and would never jeopardize your parenting position. For instance, our office has seen cases of individuals marrying a pedophile and losing custody of their children.
- Never lie to your children; always be honest but not do burden them with adult problems or issues. If you need someone to talk about your difficult times find a friend or counselor.
- Take care of yourself emotionally and physically. Get psychological help to get through these difficult times. Your children need you to be the best you – this is a difficult and confusing time for them also.
- Become familiar with Utah Code related to custody of children that is listed below.
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If you are going through a Child Custody Evaluation then you must absolutely contact us for a free custody evaluation.
Code Annotated 30-3-10.
Custody of children in case of separation or divorce — Custody consideration.
(1) If a husband and wife having minor children are separated, or their marriage is declared void or dissolved, the court shall make an order for the future care and custody of the minor children as it considers appropriate.
(a) In determining any form of custody, the court shall consider the best interests of the child and, among other factors the court finds relevant, the following:
(i) the past conduct and demonstrated moral standards of each of the parties;
(ii) which parent is most likely to act in the best interest of the child, including allowing the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent;
(iii) the extent of bonding between the parent and child, meaning the depth, quality, and nature of the relationship between a parent and child; and
(iv) those factors outlined in Section 30-3-10.2.
(b) The court shall, in every case, consider joint custody but may award any form of custody which is determined to be in the best interest of the child.
(c) The children may not be required by either party to testify unless the trier of fact determines that extenuating circumstances exist that would necessitate the testimony of the children be heard and there is no other reasonable method to present their testimony.
(d) The court may inquire of the children and take into consideration the children’s desires regarding future custody or parent-time schedules, but the expressed desires are not controlling and the court may determine the children’s custody or parent-time otherwise. The desires of a child 16 years of age or older shall be given added weight, but is not the single controlling factor.
(e) If interviews with the children are conducted by the court pursuant to Subsection (1)(d), they shall be conducted by the judge in camera. The prior consent of the parties may be obtained but is not necessary if the court finds that an interview with the children is the only method to ascertain the child’s desires regarding custody.
(2) In awarding custody, the court shall consider, among other factors the court finds relevant, which parent is most likely to act in the best interests of the child, including allowing the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent as the court finds appropriate.
(3) If the court finds that one parent does not desire custody of the child, or has attempted to permanently relinquish custody to a third party, it shall take that evidence into consideration in determining whether to award custody to the other parent.
(4) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (4)(b), a court may not discriminate against a parent due to a disability, as defined in Section 57-21-2, in awarding custody or determining whether a substantial change has occurred for the purpose of modifying an award of custody.
(b) If a court takes a parent’s disability into account in awarding custody or determining whether a substantial change has occurred for the purpose of modifying an award of custody, the parent with a disability may rebut any evidence, presumption, or inference arising from the disability by showing that:
(i) the disability does not significantly or substantially inhibit the parent’s ability to provide for the physical and emotional needs of the child at issue; or
(ii) the parent with a disability has sufficient human, monetary, or other resources available to supplement the parent’s ability to provide for the physical and emotional needs of the
child at issue.
(c) Nothing in this section may be construed to apply to adoption proceedings under Title 78, Chapter 30, Adoption.
(5) This section establishes neither a preference nor a presumption for or against joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or sole custody, but allows the court and the family the widest discretion to choose a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child.