How can I choose which of my parents gets custody of me?
In Utah, a child can’t choose. At least not anymore. Under current Utah law, children do not get to choose which parent will be awarded custody or what kind of custody or parent-time schedule the parents and child will follow. This is the law currently:
Utah Code §30-3-10(5):
(5)(a) A child may not be required by either party to testify unless the trier of fact determines that extenuating circumstances exist that would necessitate the testimony of the child be heard and there is no other reasonable method to present the child’s testimony.
(i) The court may inquire of the child’s and take into consideration the child’s desires regarding future custody or parent-time schedules, but the expressed desires are not controlling and the court may determine the child’s custody or parent-time otherwise.
(ii) The desires of a child 14 years of age or older shall be given added weight, but is not the single controlling factor.
(i) If an interview with a child is conducted by the court pursuant to Subsection (5)(b), the interview shall be conducted by the judge in camera.
(ii) The prior consent of the parties may be obtained but is not necessary if the court finds that an interview with a child is the only method to ascertain the child’s desires regarding custody.
This was not always the case, however.
Up until 1969, the law in Utah was 180 degrees different. The Utah Code formerly provided (and I’m not kidding):
‘When a decree of divorce is made the court may make such orders in relation to the children, property and parties, and the maintenance of the parties and children, as may be equitable; provided, that if any of the children have attained the age of ten years and are of sound mind, such children shall have the privilege of selecting the parent to which they will attach themselves. Such subsequent changes or new orders may be made by the court with respect to the disposal of the children or the distribution of property as shall be reasonable and proper.’ (Utah Code Section 40-3-5).
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277