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4 Types of Child Custody

4 Types of Child Custody

Utah has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country, there are still countless families across the state torn apart. Many of these divorces involve children. Whenever a marriage comes to an end, there are rarely any easy solutions. Children are often the biggest victims of divorce and are forced split their childhood living with two different families. When it comes to child custody, it is important to properly understand your options. There is currently four different types of child custody in Utah–Sole Legal/Physical Custody, Joint Legal/Physical Custody, Joint Legal/Sole Physical and Split Custody.


Regardless of your family situation, the court’s primary objective is to rule in the best interest of the child. There are several factors that will be taken into consideration, including each party’s parental skills, income level and ability to provide a stable and nurturing home environment. Here are the child custody options currently available under Utah law.


In some cases, the court will grant one parent complete control of making the child’s important decisions. This will include where the child lives and what school they will attend. In most cases, the other parent will be given visitation opportunities. However depending on the circumstances of the case, visitation rights are not always a guarantee.


In most Utah divorce cases, the ideal situation is to have both parents share custody of their children. Joint Legal/Physical Custody is exactly as its name suggests, allowing both parents to participate in the decision making process. During the course of the year, the children will live each of their parents. The court will make specific recommendations depending on the circumstances of the divorce case.


Not all joint custody arrangements are the same. While both parents are allowed to participate in the decision-making process, one parent will have full custody this child custody arrangement usually occurs when both parents are employed or the kids are enrolled in school. It allows children to have a stable living environment and schedule.


In many divorce cases, there are multiple children involved. Some children may be the result of a previous relationship. The court may determine it is in the best interest of one child to be with a specific parent. That parent will have complete decision-making power of that child.


In Salt Lake City and the rest of Utah legal separation is referred to as separate maintenance. It is when a court will determine monetary support and child custody while dividing marital property. Separations are for couples who hope for a reconciliation some day and do not want to finalize things with the prospect of divorce. Couples who have children are required to attend mediation sessions and those without children are asked to wait 90 days before filing. If you are filing for divorce you may also be required to attend mediation unless you have already been legally separated. Finding the best option can be difficult and it is necessary to consult with a Salt Lake City legal separation attorney.


Couples are not legally separated until a decree of separate maintenance has been entered by the court. The process involves dividing assets, establishing child custody and determining support for the child and spouse if applicable. However, these are all for a temporary amount of time since the decree does not fully end the marriage. Alimony is also more easily awarded since couples are supposed to support each other. A separation agreement is decided upon both spouses and is often accomplished with the help of a Salt Lake City legal separation attorney. There are several situations where separation becomes an option like one spouse going to jail for over a year and being unable to support the other spouse or both spouses living separately with no grievances. The couple must have lived in Utah for a minimum of 90 days. A legal separation can be resolved quickly if both spouses are in agreement.


Divorce is similar to separate maintenance but it is a permanent solution. The marriage is completely over and everything is divided accordingly. The process can sometimes draw out forever especially when the two parties disagree. If the couple decides to first be legally separated before filing for divorce this can sometimes speed up the divorce proceedings since there were already some standards set. However, even in these circumstances couples may disagree and simply transferring over their separation agreement does not suffice. For other couples, the separate maintenance decree helps when they both realize a reconciliation is not in the future and it is better to just finalize things. Every case is unique and will have its own challenges which are why it is imperative to consult with a Salt Lake City legal separation attorney.


With the guidance and expertise of a Salt Lake City legal separation attorney, you will be able to come to a successful agreement amongst both parties or the best possible agreement. Once scheduling an initial consultation we will be able to determine the best course of action whether it be a divorce or legal separation. Once the decided course of action is established the next step is to begin the filing process then go through mediation and come to a conclusion. From the moment you have your initial free consultation and become a client we will begin fighting for your rights.

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It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506