Child custody laws in Utah can be hard to understand. There are a lot of legal factors that go into deciding child custody in a divorce. One factor that will be considered in your divorce or in any post divorce case is the “child’s bond” with each parent and the strength of that bond.
The child custody factor is officially named under rule 4-903 as “the relative strength of the child’s bond with one or both of the prospective custodians.” This factor can be considered and found by the court or a child custody evaluator that is licensed in child therapy. In your divorce case you will want to present evidence that shows the strength of the bond you and your child or children have. Usually the most effective way to do this is to hire your own expert. A child custody evaluation can also be a good way to establish the bond the children have with you. The downside of a child custody evaluator is that they will also evaluate the bond the children have with the other parent. Sometimes this can be a good thing and consideration in a divorce action if the other parent has not participated in the children’s life and the bond is non-existent.
“The child’s bond with a particular parent is at the significant end of the spectrum and thus should weigh heavily in the court’s determination. Indeed, when the court finds that the child has bonded more closely with one parent than another, the court is within its discretion in concluding that the difference in bonding overrides the general interest in stability, especially where the prospect of stability is diminished.” Hudema v. Carpenter, 1999 UT App 290, 989 P.2d 491, 501-02.
At Arnold & Wadsworth we have fought for our clients and their rights to have custody of their children. Custody of children is the most important factor in any case involving children. You need to help the court get it right. We offer a free consultation. Feel free to give us a call at (801) 475-0123.