One thing we have done a lot of are custody battles. They can be some of the most difficult cases to handle. It is highly emotional and probably one of the hardest things someone will do is go through a contested battle for custody of their children. One of the things that makes these types of cases so hard is that the law gives lists of factors in the code, but leaves it to a judge to determine which factor is most relevant. I had a case recently where the judge gave custody to the mom because she had taken the child with her on vacation and the father had not after the parties had separated.
Best Interest of the Child
The governing principle in the law is the “best interest” of the child. Utah law can be found here: Utah Custody Factors. You can click this link if you want. It basically comes down to what a judge thinks is best taking these factors into play. We have been to court a number of times and had trials and hearings on these types of cases and feel we can predict with a reasonable degree of certainty what a judge will do, but we have been surprised more than once.
Utah has mandatory mediation in divorce cases. This is the best option to resolve a custody battle. It allows you to control the outcome and be more creative than a judge would. Judges tend to follow the law about parent time. Sometimes you can get a judge to follow the optional schedule. This means that if you want to do 50/50 parent time or something other than what the Utah Legislature has set out as the minimums you better do it at mediation.
If you cannot agree at mediation a lot of judges will order a custody evaluation. This is done by a mental health professional who has had training and experience is this sort of thing. They look at these factors to make a recommendation to the court or to hold a second mediation where they present their recommendations to the parties and give them a chance to try and resolve it before a court. Most of the time the judge will do what the custody evaluation suggests.
Call us we can help
If you are in a custody battle. Call Travis at 435-674-2564 We can help you figure this stressful and important battle out.