Factors the Court Considers when Determining Custody in Utah

There are many different factors the court considers when determining whether to grant parents joint or sole child custody.

In Utah, according to the Utah Courts, parents are able to formulate a child custody arrangement and the court will order it as long as it is in the children’s best interests. However, if there are disputes about custody, the court will consider several factors to award a custody plan that maintains the best interests of the children.

The best interests of the children

When determining what type of custody to grant, the court considers a variety of different factors. According to the Utah Courts, these include some of the following:

  • What type of custody will benefit the children’s emotional, psychological and physical needs
  • Whether or not both parents helped raise the children before they decided to end their marriage
  • Each party’s willingness to protect his or her children from conflict that may arise
  • How far apart each of the parents live
  • Each parent’s ability to make sure that his or her children’s best interests are protected
  • Both party’s propensity to make shared decisions with his or her former spouse

In some situations, the court may also take into account which parent the children want to live with. However, if their desires are not controlling, a child custody plan may be awarded that contradicts what the children want.

Types of custody

In Utah, there are two types of child custody the court may award after taking into account the best interests of the children. These two primary types include legal and physical custody, states the Utah Courts. When sole legal and physical custody is granted to a parent, according to the American Bar Association, this parent takes care of his or her children the majority of the time. This parent is also able to make major decisions about his or her children.

Comparatively, when joint legal and joint physical custody is awarded, the children live with both of their parents and their parents both have authority to make major decisions about them. However, according to the Utah Courts, joint legal and sole physical custody can also be granted. In these arrangements, the children live with the parent who has sole custody more than 225 nights every year, and the noncustodial parent still has visitation time. Although the children spend most of their time with one parent, both parents can make decisions about their children.

Preparing for a custody hearing

Parents in Utah who desire to obtain joint or legal custody of their children may be concerned about what factors will be addressed during child custody hearings. If you and your spouse are ending your marriage, speak with an attorney about what you can do to protect the best interests of your children.

Keywords:divorce, custody, joint, sole

About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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