Understanding Child Custody Laws in Utah
Some parents who file for divorce may seek full custody of their children. While Utah laws do not recognize or use the term "full custody," parents can file a petition for "sole legal/physical custody." Here's what you need to know about gaining sole legal/physical custody of your children in Utah.
What is Sole Legal & Sole Physical Custody?
Sole legal custody means the custodial parent is the primary decision-maker regarding the well-being of the child. With sole physical custody, the minor children will live with the custodial parent more than 255 overnights each year. The non-custodial parent will be permitted to spend time with minor children as per an agreement between both parents. In the case where parents disagree on a parent-time schedule, one will be ordered by the court.
A parent-time schedule is the minimum amount of time the non-custodial parent is entitled. The non-custodial parent will be responsible for making decisions during the time they are with the child.
How is Sole Legal Custody Determined?
This is generally the arrangement parents strive for when they seek "full custody." There are many types of child custody arrangements, and there several factors that the courts will examine when making a custody decision.
- The moral and financial conduct of each parent
- The child's relationship with each parent
- Each parent's capability and desire to care for the children
- Each parent's willingness to allow continuous and frequent contact with the children
- The children's relationship with extended family members and the significant impact on their best interests.
In child custody cases, the courts will also consider any evidence of domestic violence, neglect, and physical, sexual, or emotional abuse that involves the child, parent, or other household members of the parent.
Filing for Sole Legal Custody
First, every child custody case must start with a court-filed petition and state your case as to why you should be granted sole legal custody. Filing for custody is complex, and the laws can be challenging to understand without legal assistance. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can help you make the right decisions regarding your children's best interests.
Need Help With Child Custody? Contact Carr | Woodall
Custody laws in Utah can be complicated and confusing, leaving many parents with unanswered questions about approaching custody during a divorce. Our attorneys are here to help you through the process and ensure you receive the best custody plan for your child's best interest.
To arrange a free consultation, contact us at (801) 988-9400.