Ogden, UT asked in Adoption, Child Custody and Family Law for Utah

Q: Can I get 50/50 custody or any legal rights of my non biological son?

I got with my ex when she was pregnant, found out she cheated on me at least twice since he was born. I left two months before his third birthday in April 2017, had him every other weekend until October 2018 when I offered to pay half his daycare to get 50/50 custody and have had him every other week plus parts of her weeks when she has to go out of town for work. We were never married. She's told me that she would put me on the birth certificate and now refuses to do so

1 Lawyer Answer

Brian Craig

Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Logan, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: A person other than a biological parent, such as a grandparent or a step-parent, may petition the court for custody and visitation of a child in Utah. But there must be special circumstances for the court to award custody and visitation to a person who is not a parent.

Utah Code Ann. sec. 30-5a-103 governs custody and visitation for persons other than a parent. Utah recognizes that parents retain the fundamental right and duty to exercise primary control over the care, supervision, upbringing, and education of their children. There is a rebuttable presumption that a parent's decisions are in the child's best interests. A court may rebut the presumption and grant custodial or visitation rights to a person other than a parent who, by clear and convincing evidence, has established all of the following:

(a) the person has intentionally assumed the role and obligations of a parent;

(b) the person and the child have formed an emotional bond and created a parent-child type relationship;

(c) the person contributed emotionally or financially to the child's well being;

(d) assumption of the parental role is not the result of a financially compensated surrogate care arrangement;

(e) continuation of the relationship between the person and the child would be in the child's best interests;

(f) loss or cessation of the relationship between the person and the child would be detrimental to the child; and

(g) the parent:

(i) is absent; or

(ii) is found by a court to have abused or neglected the child.

Showing absence, abuse, or neglect by the parent is most challenging part. As with other areas of family law, the best interests of the child are paramount. The person who is not a biological parent may petition the court for custody by filing a verified petition in the county in which the child currently resides.

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