What are the Types of Custody in Utah Divorce Law?
St George Utah Legal Custody
Legal custody has to do with who makes decisions about a child’s welfare (e.g. schooling, medical care, religious affiliation, etc.) Under Utah divorce laws, legal custody is no longer needed to gain access to these information. Years ago, our child custody lawyer had to fight to get joint custody, just so that we could have access to school and medical records. Now, no matter how these child custody cases go down, both parents will have access to all of these records. This can be very important.
If you’re going through a custody dispute, consult with a St George family lawyer now for legal representation in your child custody and divorce case in Utah.
St George Utah Physical Custody
This has to do with which parent gets to take care of the children, when, and under what circumstances. In other words, with which parent will the child reside? This can either be joint physical custody or sole physical custody.
If you need legal help in your custody case, talk to our St George child custody lawyer to know what your legal rights are and what’s best for your child custody case in the event of a dissolution of marriage.
How do the Utah courts decide physical custody, and what can I do to strengthen my case?
In general, the courts prefer to award both parents joint legal custody. All things being equal, the court wants parents to participate in the spiritual and educational upbringing of their children. Both parties should participate in parenting the child.
Consider the sad case of Elias and Billie. After Billie developed schizophrenic mental illness, Elias asked the court for sole legal custody, arguing that his ex-wife lacked the mental capacity to make decisions that are sound and well-thought about the children’s welfare.
Physical custody disputes are more common. Sometimes, families split physical custody nearly 50/50. Other times, one parent gets sole custody or majority custody.
For instance, Katarina and Georg had two children together. Georg was often away in Europe on business, so they came to the agreement that Katarina would be the custodial parent (the one who takes care of the children most of the time), while Georg (the noncustodial parent) would spend 5 days with them every month after returning from Europe.
Family courts are moving and encouraging people to have as close to 50/50 parent time as practical. This typically looks one of two ways: a week on/week off – where you exchange the kids on Monday mornings, using the school as the exchange point. The other common one is called 2-5-5-2. One parent always has Monday and Tuesday, the other parent has Wednesday and Thursday, and you alternate Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
Whether you negotiate through custody mediation or fight it out in a custody battle at court, many issues must be considered, including:
- Your and your ex’s lifestyle, earning capacity and job schedule;
- our physical ability to take care of your kids;
- Your mental capacity to make good decisions and keep them safe;
- Whether you or your spouse have a history of domestic violence or abuse (physically or emotionally);
- Whether you can keep the home safe and nurturing;
- The children’s ages and (potentially) their preferences;
- Whether you or your spouse has been the primary caregiver in the past;
- Whether you and your ex can cooperate;
- Whether you or the other parent has violated custody rules in the past.
The courts used to give physical custody priority to mothers, but today’s courts are gender-neutral. They just want what’s in the best interests of the children. Talk to our trusted St George, Utah child custody lawyer for more information about child custody laws, parenting time, child support, and other family law concerns.