Divorce, Child Custody, and Parenting Plans in Utah
Divorce is often difficult for spouses, children, and extended family members. Custody concerns are often paramount. Getting answers to questions like "Who will have custody of our children?" can be difficult for parents. In Utah, there aren't laws or rules about which parent gets child custody.
The court must consider statutory factors before making decisions about a divorcing couple's minor children. In this post, we discuss child custody matters in Utah.
What Is Sole Custody?
In the state of Utah, the court must consider both legal and physical custody of the divorcing couple's children. Legal custody is the power awarded to the parent to decide matters of their child's overall welfare, i.e. medical, school, or religious choices. Physical custody is the determination of where the minor resides at night.
In comparison, joint legal custody allows parents to share decisions. In a joint physical custody scenario, both parents have the child for 111 nights a year.
When parents share custody of the children, this doesn't mean neither parent may receive child support from the other. Utah family court decides questions about child support on the parent's gross monthly income plus other relevant expenses. While the parent's time with the child may be a factor, such as when one parent spends more time with the child, it's not the final determinant of child support.
If A Parent Owes Child Support and Doesn't Pay, Can the Other Refuse to Allow Child Visitation in Utah?
No. The parent's right to visit their child is independent of their child support payments. If the parent is in arrears in paying child support, the matter must be settled in Utah family court. It's never appropriate for one parent to deny the other's right to see their child.
The child's wishes about living with one parent or another may be considered in Utah family court. If the child is considered mature enough to express their thoughts, the court may hear their wishes before deciding physical custody questions. Grandparents may have concerns about grandparents' rights. In general, a third-party relative doesn't receive visitation rights. However, the Utah legislature passed a bill in 2011 which may provide grandparents with visitation rights in some situations.
Parenting Plans in Utah
Divorcing parents must submit their parenting plan to family court in Utah. The parenting plan allocates each parent's time with their minor child, including visitation, holidays, and so on. The parenting plan clarifies the terms in place for each parent's time with the child and supports the terms of joint physical or legal custody.
Consult a Utah Divorce and Child Custody Attorney
These and other issues are frequent concerns in divorce. An experienced divorce lawyer at your side can help you to navigate the many challenges of divorce, child custody, and parenting plans. If you have questions about divorce, contact the law office of Terry Spencer to request a confidential consultation now.