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David R. Hartwig, Esq.
Family Law & Divorce Attorney & Counselor at Law Veteran Military Discount

Termination of custody / parental rights require effective assistance of counsel?

In two decisions, the Utah Supreme Court has opened this discussion on a wider basis. The two cases are In re K.A.S. and, In re E.K.S

K.A.S. involved claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, and violations of Constitutional rights created by a denial of counsel. It involved whether an indigent party whose parental rights were to be terminated in District Court by way of an adoption was entitled to appointed counsel.

E.K.S. involved claims that the statutory scheme to provide counsel for indigent parties whose parental rights were to be terminate by the State was unconstitutional as it did not provide the same rights in a private action to terminate parental rights.

Interesting reads, particularly when compared to the lack of such rights in custody cases.

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I am David R. Hartwig, Esq., a Salt Lake City attorney with extensive experience helping parents resolve simple or high-conflict custody issues reaching arrangements that work for children and parents. Child custody involves parent-time and visitation schedules, and can affect support. I help in all of these areas, providing comprehensive service clients need to achieve their custody goals.

Factors In Child Custody Decisions

As an experienced Utah child custody lawyer, I understand that custody cases may become a contentious issue even years after an order is finalized. The trend in Utah toward joint custody often creates messy, unworkable situations, which ultimately lead to enforcement issues when parents do not abide by their custody orders.

The best interests of the child must be considered, including:

• Whether joint legal or physical custody will benefit the child's physical, psychological and emotional needs, or the child's development

• The parents' ability to give first priority to the child's welfare, and reach shared decisions in the child's best interest

• Whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent

• Whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce

• The distance between the parents' homes

• The parents' maturity and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents

• The parents' ability to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly

• Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping

• Any other factors the court finds relevant

Despite the complicated and sensitive nature of custody matters, I have helped many clients successfully establish custody orders.

Get Help With Your Child Custody Issue

If you have a child custody issue, please contact me, David R. Hartwig, Esq. I am an experienced Salt Lake City custody lawyer dedicated to helping clients resolve complex custody issues and implement necessary custody orders. For high-conflict cases, I am also one of the few Utah child custody modification attorneys trained as a Special Master for ongoing dispute resolution.


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