Hi everyone, my name is Trevor Osborn, I’m a Utah Attorney working at Red Law. When the court is deciding which parent should receive custody, they’re going to look at a number of factors. They’re going to look at the moral standards of the parties they’re going to look at the past conduct of the parties they’re going to look to see where the children have been in the past, perhaps few months since separation, and if the children are in a routine that’s good for themwhether the children are happy.
There They’re going to look at at the depth and quality of the relationship between both of the parents and the children. The court is going to look at whether each of the parents are capable of encouraging a good relationship between the children and the other parent they’re going to look at whether both parents were involved before the divorce in the raising of the children, whether both parents were the caregivers of the children they’re going to look at whether the parents have the ability to put the children’s interests.
Above that of their own. The court is going to look at what kind of custody arrangement is going to create an environment that’s going to be the best for the children emotionally, psychologically, mentally, and physically. Now the court will consider the input of the children, but before the courts going to let the children have an impact on what their custody arrangement is going to be, for example one of the children might say, I want to live with mom, or I want to live with dad, the court wants to see that.
How is Child Custody Determined in Utah
The child is mature enough and capable of reasoning through the nuances of choosing his own or her own custody arrangement. That’s a big decision. Now, by statute, the court says, Look, if the child is 14 years old, we’re going to put a little more weight on the preference of the child than if they were younger than 14 years old. But by and large what the court is going to look at is what is in the best interests of the child. That’s the magic language. The court is always going to defer to what’s in the best interests of the child.
So, even though the court will consider those factors that we just mentioned, the court can also consider any factors that it deems relevant so long as those factors are contributing to what the court thinks is in the best interests of the child. Now when we’re talking about which parent is going to be awarded custody, we’re really talking about two different types of custody. We’re talking about 1 physical custody on the one hand, and we’re talking about 2 legal custody on the other hand. When we’re talking about physical custody.
We’re talking about the physical placement of the child. We’re talking about, specifically, the overnights that the child is going to spend at the different parents’ homes. So if one parent, for example, was awarded primary physical custody that means that that parent is going to have at least 255 overnights each year with that child. Meaning that the other parent is only going to have, at most, 110 overnights with the child. If joint physical custody is awarded that means that both parents have to have at least 111 overnights with the children.
For the entire year. Now that number can fluctuate. Meaning that one parent can have 183 overnights with child, and the other parent can have 182 overnights. So that number of overnights can fluctuate, but so long as we’re talking about joint physical custody, what we’re talking about is at least 111 overnights. Now parents want to know, if the other parent is awarded primary physical custody, when do I get to see my kids. Almost always, if one party is awarded primary physical custody the other party is awarded at least.
Standard minimum parent time. Standard minimum parent in Utah is divided up by age brackets. So the amount of time that you’re going to be able to see your children, have parent time with your children, depends on their age. I’ll link to the statutes below in the description so that you can go and browse those, but the most common one that we deal with is children ages 5 years old to 18 years old. If your children are 5 years old to 18 years old, then standard minimum parent time is one evening per week,.
Every other weekend, about every other holiday, and half the summer. If you show that you are a good parent, you have a good relationship with your children, and there’s not any hard strikes against you, you are probably going to receive more than standard minimum parent. The other type of custody that we’re talking about when we’re asking who the court is going to grant custody to is legal custody. Legal custody does not deal with the physical placement other children it deals with the ability of the parents to be involved in the.
Decision making process when it comes to important decisions in the children’s lives. When we’re talking about important decisions, were talking about religion we’re talking about schoolfor example, are the children going to attend private school or public school were talking about whether or not the children need tutoring, and if so, from whom we’re talking about do the children need medical care and if so from whom possibly what extracurricular activities the children should be involved in, or how they allocate their time between those extra curricular activities and their schoolwork. So if both parents are awarded joint.
Legal custody of their children that means that these two parents are going to have to talk together and resolve any kind of issue that they have in making these decisions. Inevitably, if parents are awarded joint legal custody they are going to have a disagreement about what they should do with their children. When that happens, the parents look to their parenting plan. The parenting plan will outline the process that they need to undergo before a decision can be made. Usually that means talking together, understanding one another, and if you.
Still can’t come to a resolution, go to mediation. If you still can’t resolve it after mediation, then you can bring it back before the court and have the court make a decision for you. Sometimes, even though both parties are awarded joint legal custody, one parent may be awarded sole decisionmaking authority when it comes to certain things. For example, both parents are awarded joint legal custody but in matters involving the children’s healthcare, mother has sole decisionmaking authority and in matters involving the children school, father has sole decisionmaking.
Authority. What that means is that when the parents have a disagreement they have to work it out the best they can, but if in the end, after they’ve followed all the terms and their parenting plan, perhaps attend mediation or something like that, if they still can’t come to a resolution, then the default decision falls to whatever mom wants or whatever dad wants or whoever has been assigned the sole decisionmaking authority with that area. Now again, if no parent has been awarded sole decisionmaking authority with that issue, and they follow the parenting plan.
And they still can’t come to a resolution, then it comes before the court and the court can make a decision for you. If one party is awarded primary legal custody of the children, that effectively means that the other party does not have the right to be involved in making these important decisions in the children’s lives. Now if this other party feels that the parent who has been awarded primary legal custody of the children is not making good decisions for the children, that that parent is making decisions that are harmful for the children,.