Utah is widely considered to be a state that favors mothers over fathers. This is cause for major concern among our male clients, many of whom think they are at a disadvantage simply because of gender. Unfortunately, once upon a time, that was true. It is still true that moms end up with custody more often than dads but that primarily has to do with non-gender factors.
Utah Courts love to follow the status quo. That is to say, if one party has been a stay-at-home parent, the Court will typically err on the side of granting that parent custody. Compared to most states, Utah moms generally spend more time at home with the kids than they do at work. This is why Utah Courts generally lean toward awarding custody to a mom.
If you are a father and want custody of your kids, it is important to consult a good divorce lawyer. There are many strategies to maximize the likelihood of obtaining custody as a father in Utah. Here are just a few:
JOB. Your job may play a greater role in considering custody than you think. If your job is flexible in that you set your own hours and can take time off as needed, your chances of getting more parent time are higher.
AGE OF CHILDREN. This factor is somewhat beyond your control. However, as a general rule of thumb, as the children get older, the Court will lean to a more equal parent time arrangement. This is somewhat intuitive. A one-year-old might not do as well as a ten-year-old spending a week away from his or her primary caretaker.
CUSTODY EVALUATION. Most custody evaluators agree that parent time with each parent should be close to equal as the children get older. Custody evaluations are expensive but almost always worth it if you believe the Court has given you less parent time than you should have.
LOCATION. If you live more than an hour from the custodial parent, it will be difficult to obtain any sort of joint custody. Even if you do, it will create a lot of practical problems.