Best Interests of the Child
In Utah, the paramount concern in legal proceedings regarding custody of a child is what is in the bests interests of the child.
Two Kinds of Custody
Child custody matters involve two kinds of custody: (1) Physical custody; and (2) legal custody. Physical custody refers to the number of overnights each parent has with the child or children, while legal custody refers to decision making authority.
Parents of a child may share joint legal custody--meaning they must work together and co-parent to make major decisions affection the child's education, health, and general upbringing and welfare. There is a presumption in favor of joint legal custody where parents were married, unless other factors such as domestic violence are present.
Parents who share legal custody must employ a parenting plan. A good parenting plan will include as many details as possible on any potential issues that may arise. Often, this includes subjects such as vacation planning, information sharing, and scheduling matters.
In almost all cases, the parents will each have physical custody rights of their child. In Utah, joint physical custody is defined as 110 or more overnights per year with the non-custodial parent. Parents who exercise equal, 50/50, or near-equal joint physical custody would each have their child/ren 182-183 overnights per year. Parents with sole or primary physical custody have the child 255+ overnights per year.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have questions about custody or if you would like to schedule a time to meet with one of our attorneys, schedule a consultation online today, call us at (801) 621-3646, or write to us.