Received this question today —
Q: How Do I Go About Getting Full Custody of my Child?
I love good questions like this one. Give me a second to think and respond: Tell me what your custody situation looks like right now.
The reason this is so important is because in Utah, the Court Commissioners and Judges will usually award custody in a situation in which it currently exists (with some exceptions of course).
So, think about this situation for a moment. You want full custody. Full custody in legal terms means sole physical custody (in my mind). Sole physical custody means that if there are 365 days in a year, you have your child at least 255 overnights or more and the other parent would have 110 overnights or less. This is the minimum number of overnights that you need to have sole physical custody.
Some has asked us about how do they keep the other parent from ever seeing their child. This is difficult unless the other parent has serious issues (think child endangerment or worse). If that is your situation, call us right away to discuss emergency options.
If the other parent ever gets more than 110 overnights in a year, then you are looking at a joint custody situation. So, the trick is to have this in place before you go to court.
Watch this video I created:
Think about it.
If you already have a sole physical custody (or full custody) situation in place before you go to court, then the argument that is made to the judge will look something like this:
“Good Morning your Honor.
Michael Anderson, appearing on behalf of [inset your name here], the Petitioner in this matter.
Your Honor, the reason we are here today is to have an order put in place which awards my client sole physical custody of the parties’ minor child.
This is appropriate here your Honor, because this is that status quo. Over the last year, my client has had 255 overnights with the minor child and the Respondent has only had 110 overnights. This is the status quo your Honor, it has been this way for over a year and the court should maintain the status quo.
Additionally your Honor, the court should award my client sole physical custody because… [fill in the other reasons here].”
This is a sample of what my oral argument would look like if we went to court to get you full custody.
My recommendation is this – if you want full custody, get all the overnights you can with your child. If the other parent has “issues” don’t let the other parent have overnights until the issues are resolved. If you do, then you are telling the court from your behavior, that there are no issues; otherwise, you would simply allow those overnights to take place.
Let me give you an example.
If you want the other parent to have a separate bedroom for your child and he or she doesn’t; then, don’t let them have overnights until this is resolved. If you do, you are telling the court that the child not having a separate bedroom is important to you; otherwise, you would be withholding parent time.
Now, with all this said, don’t forget that if you unreasonably withhold parent time from the other parent, you might end up looking like “the bad guy” — no one wants this. So make sure you do everything on the up and up.
I hope you have found this information helpful.
If you need help with a child custody or divorce case, give us a call. Thanks!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506