It’s a common misconception that mothers always win in custody battles. However, there is no guarantee that a particular parent will be awarded custody of their child. The outcome of a custody case can depend on many factors, including:
• The laws of the state where the lawsuit is filed.
• The strength of each parent’s legal argument.
• The evidence presented to the court.
• In some cases, the child’s preference (see below).
In some states, courts give preference to mothers in custody cases. However, this is not always the case. Fathers can also win custody of their children if it’s proven in court that they are the better parent for their children. Either parent can win sole custody of their child in Utah. Sole custody means that child will live with the parent awarded custody, and the other parent generally has parent-time with your child. Sole legal custody also means that the parent will make important decisions for their children. If your spouse has shown signs of harm or aggression towards your child, your judge can still grant your spouse visitation but may grant supervised visitation. Your judge may also arrange for joint custody, where both parents work together to make significant decisions for their child. You may also be granted joint legal and sole physical custody where your child will live with one parent for most nights, but the other parent still helps to make decisions about their children.
Will a Utah Family Court Consider My Child’s Preference?
When deciding custody and visitation, Utah courts will look at several factors to determine what is in the child’s best interests. One of those factors can be the child’s preference. If your child is old enough to express a choice, the court will likely give that preference significant weight. In Utah, a judge will give more thought to a child’s preference if the child is over the age of 14. Keep in mind that the court will not always follow the child’s wishes- the court may override the child’s preference if it believes that another arrangement would be better for the child. A judge will not favor a parent just because they are more relaxed with discipline or because one household is “the fun house” where more money is spent on gifts or activities. A judge may also evaluate your child’s preference by interviewing your child separately. It is important not to coach or persuade your child to favor your house- if the court finds that lies or coaching has happened, it can lead to the judge deciding to transfer custody to the other parent.
What Can I do to help with custody?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of who will win a custody battle. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. However, there are some general tips that parents can follow to improve their chances of winning custody of their child:
• Hire an experienced family law attorney.
• Gather evidence to support your argument for custody.
• Be prepared to present your case in court.
• Follow the custody order issued by the court.
• Keep a positive relationship with your child’s other parent and avoid saying negative things about the other parent or household.
By following these tips, you can improve your chances of winning custody of your child. However, a lot goes into the decision-making for custody. The outcome of any custody case depends on each case’s specific facts and circumstances. Reach out to your local Utah Attorney to ensure the safety and protection of your child.