If somebody’s wife gets pregnant by another man will it be easy for the husband to gain custody of their children?

If somebody’s wife gets pregnant by another man will it be easy for the husband to gain custody of their children?

In my opinion, 9.5 times out of 10 the fact—standing alone—that the wife got pregnant in the course of an extramarital affair will have virtually no impact on which of the two spouses will get custody of the children of the marriage. So to answer your question: no, it will not be easy for the husband to gain custody of their children, if his wife gets pregnant by another man.

Why? Because the factors that affect the award of child custody do not place a great deal of importance on something like an extramarital affair. The factors that matter far, far more to a court are things like

Section 30–3–10 (Utah Code):

  • the past conduct and demonstrated moral standards of each of the parties;
  • which parent is most likely to act in the best interest of the child, including allowing the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent;
  • the extent of bonding between the parent and child, meaning the depth, quality, and nature of the relationship between a parent and child;
  • whether the parent has intentionally exposed the child to pornography or material harmful to a minor;
  • whether there has been domestic violence in the home or in the presence of the child;
  • special physical or mental needs of a parent or child;
  • physical distance between the residences of the parents.

Section 30-3-10.2 (Utah Code):

  • the physical, psychological, and emotional needs and development of the child;
  • the ability of each parent to give first priority to the welfare of the child;
  • whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent, including the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent;
  • whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce;
  • the preference of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to legal or physical custody;
  • the maturity of the parents and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents.

Utah Code of Judicial Administration, Rule 4–903

  • parenting skills;
  • co-parenting skills (including, but not limited to, the ability to facilitate the child’s relationship with the other parent, and to appropriately communicate with the other parent);
  • moral character;
  • emotional stability;
  • duration and depth of desire for custody and parent-time;
  • ability to provide personal rather than surrogate care;
  • significant impairment of ability to function as a parent through drug abuse, excessive drinking or other causes;
  • reasons for having relinquished custody or parent-time in the past;
  • religious compatibility with the child;
  • the child’s interaction and relationship with the child’s step-parent(s), extended family members, and/or any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;
  • financial responsibility;
  • evidence of abuse of the subject child, another child, or spouse;
  • any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnaping; and
  • any other factors the court finds relevant.

As you can see, while moral character is one factor, it is clearly not the only factor, nor is it the most important factor in making a child custody award. To be sure, the court will take into account the wife’s moral failings and recklessness by her having engaged in an extramarital affair and getting pregnant, but this factor will not carry much weight in view of the other more pragmatic factors, such as parenting skills, bonding between parents and children, availability to care for children, what arrangement would be easiest on the kids and what custody arrangement will benefit them going forward, etc.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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