Child custody is a significant concern — and, often, a source of conflict — when parents in Utah decide to separate or divorce.
If you and your spouse cannot come to a mutually acceptable solution, the matter goes before the court. The judge then has the final say on both physical custody, or where your children live, and legal custody, or who has the authority to make decisions for your children.
Every case is unique, but in Utah, there are four primary types of child custody arrangements.
Sole Legal & Sole Physical Custody
Under this arrangement, the children live with one parent and that person has the sole right to make major decisions about their care and welfare. The other parent has visitation rights, which is called parent time in Utah.
Joint Legal & Joint Physical Custody
This child custody arrangement gives both parents legal authority to make decisions regarding the children. Unless specified otherwise, the children live in the home of each parent for at least 111 nights per year.
Joint Legal & Sole Physical Custody
With this child custody arrangement, both parents share the decision-making power. However, the children live full-time — more than 225 nights of the year — in one parent’s home. The other parent is awarded parent time.
This arrangement separates the children, placing one or more in the physical custody each parent. In these cases, the other parent may or may not have the legal authority to make important decisions about the ongoing care of the children.
How Does the Utah Court Resolve Child Custody Disputes?
When Utah parents are in dispute, the court considers what type of arrangement is in the best interest of the children. Several factors play a role in the final determination, including:
- The moral standards and conduct of each parent
- The nature of the relationships between the parents and the children
- The ability of each parent to give priority to the children’s care and welfare
- The likelihood of each parent encouraging a positive relationship between the children and the other parent
This is not a complete list. The court considers many other issues before deciding on a child custody arrangement. The children may get to offer input about who they prefer to live with, but the judge will only agree if that choice is in their best interests.
If you’re a Utah parent going through a separation or divorce, obtaining professional legal advice is the best way to protect your family and secure the best possible child custody arrangement.
For four decades, Rex B. Bushman, attorney at law, has helped clients successfully resolve custody issues through the complex Utah court system. With his legal knowledge, litigation skills and commitment to service, you can count on exceptional representation.
Call today for a complimentary consultation to discuss your child custody arrangements.