Why Do You Need a Child Custody Attorney in Utah?
If you are like most divorcing parents, one of your greatest concerns is the well-being of your children. A key item of dispute in many divorce proceedings is the issue of child custody. Who will get the children? If you are a divorcing parent, you need an experienced child custody lawyer who will help you maneuver the twists and turns of Utah child custody laws. At Wall & Wall, P.C., we are seasoned family law attorneys who have a great deal of experience in custody matters. Contact our skilled child custody lawyers for a free consultation.
Many people just assume that physical custody will automatically go to the mother. But it is important for everyone concerned that the decision be made not on the basis of tradition, but instead on the best interests of the children. Whether that is joint physical custody, sole physical custody, joint legal custody, sole legal custody, or split custody we have vast experience in child custody law and will help you make the best custody arrangements for your children.
Our overarching concern is the best interests of your children. If you feel that seeking a change in custody is the best thing for your children, we will help you petition the court for a custody modification. We have helped countless parents prepare for custody evaluations. If your custody evaluation leads to a child custody battle, we are willing to go the distance with you to fight for what is best for your children.
Understanding the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody
Having custody of a minor in Utah means that the courts have awarded you a level of decision making and a duty to care for the child. This designation can be temporary or ongoing. It can also change if a problem arises. In terms of awarding legal and physical custody, the courts base their decisions on what is in the child’s best interests.
- Legal Custody: When a parent or guardian has been awarded legal custody, they earn the responsibility for making major life decisions for a minor. These may include education, religious affiliation and upbringing, medical treatment and other long- and short-term decisions. This status can be enjoyed by one or both parents and the court can be called upon to resolve disputes.
- Physical Custody: It’s common that one parent has physical placement of a child and another has reasonable visitation. This arrangement fosters a sense of home and maintains child-parent relationships. It’s important to understand that a parent or guardian who has physical custody may also enjoy a level of legal custody by default, if a decree doesn’t specify otherwise.
Types of Custody
The courts recognize the complexities of everyday life and child-rearing. That’s why it’s common for courts to award sole and mixed parental designations. Utah child custody laws recognize:
- Joint Legal and Physical Custody: Many times, the court will award shared legal and physical custody so that both parents have relatively equal authority into a child’s life. This status allows both to make key decisions and split time.
- Joint Legal and Sole Physical Custody: The most common arrangement is for courts to award physical placement to one parent and have the other enjoy reasonable visitation rights. The court may also split the right to make decisions between both parents.
- Sole Physical and Legal Custody: In this instance, one parent enjoys both physical placement and all decision-making powers. Generally, the other parent retains visitation. However, in cases where the non-custodial parent is deemed unfit or a danger in some way, they may be vacated.
- Split Custody: In some cases, the court will divide the amount of time each child spends separately at each parent’s home. Generally, there would need to be things in place that make this practical and allow for a stable environment.
Paternity Actions And Child Custody in Utah
When people have children out of wedlock, fathers may discover they do not have legal, parental status. Fathers need to fill out and sign an acknowledgement of paternity at the time of birth. Fathers that were unaware or did not file a paternity form will need to initiate a civil action to gain their parental rights. This may be as simple as filing papers, working with the mother and taking a DNA test to prove a blood relationship.
Wall & Wall Attorneys at Law Focus on Family Law
We focus our practice on family law. Whether you need assistance structuring a joint custody schedule, are concerned about custodial parent rights, need assistance with child support enforcement, or are embarking in an all out custody dispute, the family custody lawyers at Wall & Wall, P.C., can assist you. Contact Us today for a free consultation by filling out our online form above, or calling us at 801-441-2388.