How is Child Custody Determined in Utah?

When Utah couples divorce, one of the most important subjects they will need to address is the child’s custody and living arrangements going forward. And as you can imagine, child custody can be a contentious subject, especially if parents cannot put the best interests of the child ahead of their own. 

However, with the right help (from an independent mediator or the court), parents can work out a custody and visitation plan that works for everyone.

Utah child custody options

Utah family courts take several factors into account when determining child custody and visitation arrangements. Some of these include each parent’s living situation, ability to care for the child and the child’s needs and preferences among other factors. 

Based on the circumstances of the case, the court may award any of the following types of custody:

Sole physical custody – Sole custody is granted to one parent who becomes the sole decision maker for the child. In this arrangement, the child will live with the custodial parent while the other parent may be awarded visitation rights. 

Joint legal/sole custody – In this arrangement, primary custody will be given to one parent while the other gets visitation rights. However, both parents are granted the right to make decisions for the child. 

Joint legal custody – In a joint custody arrangement, both parents are granted equal rights to make decisions concerning the child’s upbringing. Additionally, parents are granted the liberty to decide how they will share custody throughout the year. 

Split custody – Basically, split custody is meant for parents who have more than one child. In this case, each parent will be awarded primary custody of some kids while the other parent gets visitation rights. The idea of split custody is to minimize the amount of time kids spend moving to each parent’s home. 

The subject of child custody can be complex and challenging even when the couple seems to get along. Find out how you can safeguard your child’s best interests while negotiating child custody.