Utah Divorce Advice

What Factors Are Considered In Custody Disputes

In child custody disputes there are several factors that are considered to help determine the most correct outcome. When child custody cannot be resolved amicably between the parents or guardians involved in a family court, then the dispute will be escalated to a judge or jury trial to establish the necessary custody arrangements. Once a custody dispute extends passed the family courts, it is most likely the time to retain the services of a child custody lawyer to ensure that the custody arrangements will be most advantageous for the child and the parent the lawyer represents.

Different Types of Child Custody Arrangements

The type of custody a parent or guardian seeks can largely affect the outcome of the custody case and arrangements. Family courts will provide parents in a dispute with a list of the different custody levels that are available to them. The different types of child custody arrangements initially offered by the family courts all include time with and access to the child for both parents. Here is a list of the different types of child custody arrangements.

  • Joint Custody

    Joint custody allows for both parents to share in the responsibilities of raising the child or children.

  • Sole Custody

    Sole custody dictates that only one parent is allowed total physical custody of the child or children. While one parent retains sole custody, in most cases the other parent is granted visitation rights, so that the excluded parent can remain a part of the child’s life. There are extreme circumstances, in which visitation rights are limited or not granted, when the safety of the child comes into question.

  • Visitation Rights

    Visitation Rights grant a parent access to the child set on a specific schedule by the judge of the family court.

  • Additional “Non-Custodial” Rights

    Non-Custodial rights are granted to parents outside of custody, such as making major life decisions for the children or child.

Factors Considered in Child Custody Disputes

In family court, both parents or disputing parties are given the opportunity to present their arguments. The family court judge notes both arguments and considers them, when making his/her decision. The judge considers most heavily what situation is best for the child or children. Here is a list of several, but not all, factors that are considered in child custody disputes.

  • The job history and earning potential of both parents

  • The custody status of children of parents outside of the dispute case

  • The arrangement that the child wants

  • The possible criminal past of both parents

  • The health of the parents and the health and medical needs of the children

  • The impact on the child of dramatically changing the current state of things and arrangements

  • The level of life the child has experienced, during the time the child lived with one parent

  • The possible better relationship the child has with one parent over the other

  • The capability of the parent to offer the child a safe home life, as well as access for the child to normal social involvement with the child’s peers

Child custody disputes are an attempt by both parents to establish the rules and arrangements for child custody. Parents have options to consider with varying levels of custody. There are several factors that are considered in child custody disputes. The judge weighs the arguments from both parents. In the end, however, the well-being and optimal situation for the child or children is what the judge gives the most weight to, when making his/her custody decision.