When making child custody decisions, the court will always consider what is in the best interests of the child. In most situations, it will be in the child’s best interest to be exposed to both parents on a regular basis. That means that the default custody arrangement will almost always be shared custody of some type. However, when one parent’s words or actions threaten the child’s safety or well-being, shared custody may not be a good option. In those cases, your Utah child custody attorney will likely argue for sole custody.
Types of Sole Custody
There are two kinds of custody in Utah. You can have sole custody as to both forms, or you can have shared custody in one and not the other. These two kinds of custody include:
- Legal custody: When one parent has sole legal custody, he or she is the only person that can make decisions regarding the child’s education, healthcare, safety, religion, and daycare. The non-custodial parent may still receive information about these decisions, but they are not allowed to make the final decision in any of these critical aspects of the child’s life.
- Physical custody: This type of custody sets out where the child will physically reside. When one parent has this type of custody, the other parent will often be able to visit to spend time with the child. When health and safety are a concern, visitation may be supervised, or it may not be granted at all.
Triggering Sole Custody Arrangements
A variety of factors could trigger the court to grant sole custody to one parent over the other. Some unfortunately typical examples include:
- The parent has a history of mental instability
- There is a potential or history of domestic abuse toward the other parent or the child
- The other parent has an alcohol or drug abuse problem
- A history of inappropriate contact with minors, including exposing a child to unsafe situations
In some situations, sole custody may also be granted if one parent is entirely unwilling to “share” the child with the other parent. That is, they want to cut off the other parent from the child’s life entirely.
In other situations, the child’s physical, emotional, or psychological well-being is threatened because of exposure to the other parent’s living situation. This could include circumstances where the other parent does not have a stable, safe home, or where individuals living with the parent threaten the safety of the child, such as other children or partners.
Arguing for Sole Custody in Your Case
The Court can grant sole custody to a parent in virtually any situation where the child’s well-being is threatened in some way. It could be something as simple as the other parent refusing to take the child to school in the morning on a regular basis.
Your Utah child custody attorney will be able to help you gather and present evidence that shows your concern for your child’s well-being if you are trying to get sole custody. Call Emy A. Cordano, Attorney at Law for more information about how our office can help.