How can I get the custody of my child? What factors does the court consider?

How can I get the custody of my two-year-old son in court?

I am an SFG in service, not always at home, but I can give my child to my parents.

Courts do not look at child custody as “which parent gets the child” anymore. They never should have, but there was a time when society generally (and thus the courts too) believed that when parents divorce the children must spend the majority of their time in the custody of one of the two parents. . . and that parent was, 9.5 times out of 10, the mother.

Courts then (and some courts even now) just assumed the mother was “the best parent” to whom to award custody. As you can imagine, a lot of children who had crappy mothers and whose custody was awarded to the crappy mothers started raising a ruckus when they got old enough to change the law, so that “who’s the best parent?” was replaced with “what’s best for the kids?”

Moving away from sole custody to joint custody

Now states are, thankfully, moving away from the “presumption of custody in one parent” and toward a presumption of joint custody of children. It’s a rebuttable presumption, of course. Because let’s face it, not all parents can exercise joint custody of their children. If parents live so far apart that the kids would end up attending different schools in each parent’s city of residence, one parent is going to get custody. If one parent is an unfit parent, joint custody won’t be awarded. If a parent is fit, but has a work schedule that just isn’t conducive to joint custody, joint custody won’t be awarded. You get the idea.

So if you come into divorce with the goal of “I’ll get sole custody!,” you’ll be singing a tune no one particularly wants to hear. The analysis isn’t so much “who is the better parent” as it is “what’s best for the child?”

What’s best, not who’s best

If what is it best for the child is not sole custody, then you owe it to your child to seek the custody award that is best for the child, not the custody award that you want.

In your particular situation, given that you are in the military, frequently aren’t at home, and don’t know when or for how long you will or won’t be deployed far from home, your chances of getting sole custody are slim, unless your spouse’s circumstances are even worse than yours. Frankly, your chances of being awarded joint custody are just as bad, unless somehow your spouse’s circumstances are such that he/she can make joint custody work around your schedule and is willing to do so.

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

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