Custody Laws Every Parent Should Be Aware of in Utah

Divorce can already be a dreary process without the added weight of a complex custody conversation. It’s critical to be privy to the custody laws in your state if this is something you have to navigate, so as custody lawyers in Utah, we’ll walk you through the need-to-know of child custody in Utah. 

How Is Child Custody Determined in Utah?

First, the basics. 

In Utah Courts, there are two parts to custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is about who has the right to make important decisions about the children. Physical custody is about where the children live.

With those distinctions, your custody agreement can shake out in a few different ways, including joint legal and joint physical, joint legal and sole physical, and split custody. That said, the court must order what is in the children’s best interests when making custody and parent-time decisions, even when parties agree. 

Things like the distance between homes, co-parenting abilities, ability to prioritize the child, maturity, and ability to cooperate are among the factors the court considers. Having the right custody lawyers in Utah ensures that you have a fighting chance to get what you want out of your custody arrangement. 

What Goes Into a Custody Arrangement in Utah?

A mother and daughter walking

Utah law requires the parties to file a parenting plan whenever a party asks the court to create or change a shared parenting arrangement. By definition, a parenting plan is an outline of how the parents will raise their children. It’s important to have and take seriously because it provides stability for the children involved, which can reduce their stress and anxiety related to the separation, at least to some degree. The parenting plan encourages you to think about and document how you will make decisions and resolve disagreements as a unit in advance, because “winging it” isn’t fair to anyone involved.

You must also consider visitation (depending on your arrangement). That’s all-inclusive of holidays, weeks, and weekends. Utah Code Title 30 Chapter 3 Section 35 addresses it, but there’s a lot of jargon, so remember that typically, the law encourages frequent and continuing contact between the child and both parents. This is true unless the Utah court determines that it would not be in the child’s best interests. And as such, Utah law encourages joint arrangements, where both parents share legal and physical custody of the child so that the child can get a fairly complete adolescent experience. 

At What Age Can a Child Make a Custody Decision in Utah?

Utah law reads that “the “desires of a child 14 years of age or older shall be given added weight but is not the single controlling factor.” In layman’s terms, a child must be 14 before their preference is acknowledged, but that won’t make or break things in the end. Again, this is where child custody lawyers in Utah can help argue your case. Remember, the court will consider the physical, educational, social, and moral welfare of the child (or children) while custody arrangements are established.

Where Custody Lawyers in Utah Come In

A mother with two children on a bench in the fall

At Esplin | Weight, our child custody lawyers in Utah are here to help you navigate the divorce and custody processes as painlessly as possible while protecting the best interests of the children in question. 

From ensuring the right papers get filed to representing you and your voice, we’re with you every step of the way. This is inclusive of all negotiations, mediations, and conversations. By working with us at Esplin | Weight, you’re in on our legal knowledge and expertise. 

Remember, you don’t have to do things alone!