We frequently get phone calls from fathers with questions about their rights with their kids. Fathers often believe the simple fact they are the man in the relationship somehow puts them at a significant disadvantage in a divorce or other family proceeding. We hear all the time from fathers going through divorce about their preconceived notions on how Utah law does not favor them in a custody battle. We do not believe this to be true. Unfortunately, many men believing this myth choose not to fight for a joint custody arrangement because they believe it would be futile and Utah law somehow disfavors men. Any father out there should never let these false notions impact their decisions on custody. On the flip side, many of our female clients come to us with the same misconceptions about father’s rights believing they are going to “get everything” when it comes to the children. Whether you are the dad or the mom in the divorce, you should have realistic expectations of what your custody rights are and what factors the court will look at in making a custody decision.
Let’s be clear, gender is not a factor for the court to consider in awarding custody in a Utah Divorce. Rather, the judge will look to several factors in determining the “best interests” of the child(ren). It doesn’t matter if you are the mom or the dad. What matters is if you can demonstrate it is in the child’s best interests for the court to award the custody arrangement you desire. Often, the divorce involves two good parents and it really is in the best interests of the children to have significant time with both. Each party in the divorce should keep the child’s best interests at the forefront of everything they do with the child issues in the case. If parents were really willing to sacrifice their own wants and desires for custody for their children’s best interests, most custody disputes could likely be avoided.