Custody law

No other issue can be more heated, emotionally charged, and important than child custody matters.  For decades, people have fought over their rights to obtain custody over the children when a relationship or marriage goes south.  The help of an expert child custody attorney is necessary to protect your rights as a parent.

Utah Custody law
Utah Custody law

Gone are the days of simply granting mother custody over the kids–now, most jurisdictions across the United States follow the “best interests of the child” standard, whereby the court takes into account literally dozens of factors to determine where the child or children should reside as their primary residence.  An experienced lawyer fighting on your behalf will explain the details of your case with the care, confidentiality, and compassion that you and your family deserve. Utah child custody laws

Most courts take into account dozens of factors in determining custody.

Types of child custody

There are two parts to custody:physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody means where the children live; legal custody means which parent has the right to make important decisions about the children. Unless there is domestic violence in the family, or the child has special needs, or the parents live far apart, or there is some other factor the court considers relevant, joint legal custody is presumed to be in the child’s best interest. A party may overcome this presumption with suitable evidence. Utah recognizes several custody arrangements for minor children. Child custody laws in utah These include:

Sole legal and sole physical

Either parent can be awarded the sole custody of the children. This means that the children live with one parent and that parent makes the major decisions about the children’s lives. If sole custody is awarded, the non-custodial parent is awarded parent time with the children.  For more information, see the section on parent time.

Joint legal and joint physical

With this arrangement the children live with both parents and both parents make important decisions about their children. Joint custody is most successful when both parents communicate well with one another and are willing to work together to take care of the children’s needs.

Joint legal custody means that both parents make decisions about major issues affecting the children by working together. These issues may include, among others, what religion (if any) the child will be raised in, whether the child should receive medical treatment or undergo a major medical procedure, where the child will go to school, and permission to get a tattoo, get married, or join the military before age 18. Joint legal custody does not affect the children’s residence. Child custody laws in utah

Joint physical custody means that the children live at least 111 nights a year in the home of each parent. For practical reasons, joint physical custody works best when both parents live in the same general area.

Utah custody law rules
Utah custody law rules

In this arrangement, children live with one parent over 225 nights per year, and the other parent has regular parent time, but both parents make important decisions about their children.

Split custody

This arrangement means that each parent is awarded the sole physical custody of at least one of the children when there is more than one child. Legal custody of the children by the non-custodial parent may or may not be shared as ordered by the court.


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