Child Custody Lawyers in Utah
Child Custody Lawyers in Utah work to protect your and your child’s best interests
Fillmore Spencer LLC child custody lawyers in Utah have more than 20 years’ familiarity with Utah child custody and child support law. Child custody in Utah may be brought as a separate case or as part of a divorce, separate maintenance, temporary separation, annulment, parentage, adoption, neglect and dependency or termination of parental rights case. It is governed by the custody sections of Utah’s divorce statutes. We want to help you, contact us today!
Types of child custody
There are two types of custody: physical and legal. “Physical” refers to where your child will live. “Legal” refers to who will make decisions for the child.
In a contested divorce, either type can be awarded on a sole or joint basis, so there are four ways a judge may rule when it comes to custody:
- Joint legal and joint physical — Also known as joint custody. Both parents participate in childrearing decisions and the child spends at least 111 nights per year with each.
- Joint legal and sole physical — Both parents participate in childrearing decisions, but one gets to live with the child for at least 225 nights per year, while the other gets parent time.
- Sole legal and joint physical — Only one parent is responsible for childrearing decisions, and the child spends at least 111 nights per year with each.
- Sole legal and sole physical — Also known as sole or full custody. One parent makes the childrearing decisions and gets to live with the child for 225 nights a year, while the other gets a visitation agreement.
A court has two other custody ruling options:
- If there is more than one child from the marriage, it can award “split custody,” assigning each parent sole physical custody of at least one child.
- If both parents jeopardize the child’s best interests, the court may order child custody for neither parent, instead calling for arrangements to place the child in the custody of a stepparent, relative or the Utah juvenile system.
Parent time (visitation agreements)
Parent time refers to the time the noncustodial parent spends with a child. When parents cannot agree on a parent time schedule, state law provides for a minimum parent time schedule.
Family law in this situation can get pretty complicated, with differing definitions of just what constitutes “parent time.”
What happens to a custody arrangement if one spouse relocates?
When a divorced parent needs to move more than 150 miles away from the other parent’s residence, he or she must provide 60 days’ written notice. The court will consider whether the proposed move is in the child’s best interest.
The courts rarely permit relocation of the children. They tend to side with the custody evaluator, who typically considers a move not in the child’s best interest.
Remember to follow smart social media practices before, during, and after the settlement.
How is child support calculated?
Utah law requires that both parents financially support their child’s or children’s needs.
The court assays each spouse’s adjusted gross income from nearly all sources, including bonuses, rents, trusts, capital gains, alimony from previous marriages, Social Security benefits and unemployment compensation. It also counts the amount of time each parent will spend with the child.
As with alimony, temporary child support may be requested as soon as a petition for divorce is filed. Be prepared to substantiate your request and be sure to include a completed Financial Declaration.
Seeking to enforce or change child custody and child support orders
Once child custody and child support orders are issued, Fillmore Spencer LLC and their child custody lawyers in Utah stand ready to petition the court for assistance with enforcement matters.
If the terms of custody, visitation and child support become onerous or insufficient, Fillmore Spencer LLC can petition the court for their modification. Child support cannot be modified until three years have passed. Reasons for modification can include emancipation of the minor, a change in custody, the child’s medical needs, a change in a parent’s legal responsibilities for the support of others, or a significant change in a parent’s income, wealth or employment potential.
In child custody matters, your divorce order probably will indicate what type of dispute resolution you and the other parent must attempt before a modification can be considered. Legitimate reasons to justify custody modifications include remarriage, parental relocation, or the need for a child to change schools. As ever, the child’s best interests will underlie the court’s decision.
Ensure your and your children’s best interests are met
One of the most gut-wrenching aspects of divorce can be its effect on children. Invest in an attorney who knows Utah child custody and support laws inside and out and who will vigorously pursue all avenues to ensure your and your child’s or children’s rights are protected. Call Fillmore Spencer LLC at (801) 426-8200 or contact us online to arrange your free initial consultation.