Under Utah law, all biological parents have the right to get custody of their child regardless of their resident status and regardless of whether they are married to the other biological parent or not.
Meaning: in many situations, even unmarried illegal immigration may be able to seek an award of custody of his or her biological child or children in Utah. When it comes to child custody in Utah, the legal process for seeking custody rights is the same for both aliens and citizens.
An alien is a person who was born in a foreign country and entered the United States to stay here permanently or temporarily. However, the legal process for seeking child custody rights in Utah may not be as straightforward as it seems if you crossed the U.S. border illegally.
That is because, under Utah law, courts prioritize the child’s best interests when it comes to awarding custody. And this rule applies to all parents regardless of their resident status: illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, and even American citizens. That is why it is advised to consult with a Salt Lake City child custody attorney Emy A. Cordano to determine the most optimal legal strategy for your particular situation.
Why courts may deny an illegal immigrants’ child custody request
It is not uncommon for family courts in Utah to deny illegal immigrants’ requests to get child custody rights based on the mere fact that the immigrant will not be able to provide for his or her biological child because he or she will have trouble finding a stable job or even a place to live.
Therefore, as long as you, a biological parent, can provide care for your child in his or her best interests, including but not limited to providing financial stability, a place to live, education, and other things that are essential for the child’s upbringing, you will most likely have no trouble seeking child custody rights even if you are an illegal immigrant in Utah.
Legal requirements for illegal immigrants seeking child custody
However, make sure that certain legal requirements are met in order to ensure that you will be granted child custody rights if you are an immigrant parent in Utah:
- Utah is the home state of the child when the court determines child custody, or at least the child’s home state within 6 months prior to the date when the child custody determination begins if one of the parents continues to reside in the state.
- No other state has jurisdiction over the child custody determination or has determined that Utah would be a more appropriate state to make the determination.
- The child and at least one of his/her parents have a significant connection with Utah (simply living in the state is usually not enough).
- There is substantial evidence in Utah proving the child’s personal relationships, care, education, protection, training, and others.
There are many other requirements that exist for illegal immigrants seeking child custody rights in the U.S. If you and the other parent are both illegal immigrants, you may run into additional legal challenges. As a rule of thumb, an illegal immigrant is more likely to lose his or her parental rights or get his/her child custody request denied than a citizen parent.
Speak about your particular case by contacting our Salt Lake City child custody attorney Emy A. Cordano. Get a legal consultation by calling at 801-804-5152.