Parentage a.k.a. Custody General Information

May 19, 2014
A parentage relationship is established when you are the parent of a child whether biological or by a Court (i.e., adoption).  You only have a parentage relationship when the relationship is legal.  In other words, if the child is a result of a non-consensual relationship (i.e., rape) then the one forcing the relationship will not generally have any legal rights to the child. 
Custody generally refers to the control over decisions made for the child and/or the place where the child lives, if the parents do not live in the same household.  However, both parents have equal custodial rights until a Court order exists which establishes custody. 
There are 2 different kinds of custody which may be shared in 3 main ways here in Utah.  The two types of custody are:
Legal custody which goes to who has the ability to make important decisions concerning the children, and
Physical custody which goes to where the children will live.
As mentioned, each of the two types of custody may be shared in 3 different ways.  This may be done differently for each type of custody:
Sole.  Legal and/or physical custody may be given to one parent alone (with rights of visitation to the other).
Joint.  In joint custody arrangements, both parents are involved.  For instance, with joint legal custody, both parents would have a right to make the important decisions regarding the children such as education, religion and non-emergency medical care. This type of arrangement will only work where the parties get along very well and may communicate with each other often.  Joint physical custody would entail moving the kids from one parent to the other for some amount of time as decided between the parties or the judge.  However, the children must spend more than 110 nights each year in each home to call the arrangement “joint”.
Split.  This situation involves more than one child and the children are split between the parents.  For example, one will live with the mother and one will live with the father.  This type of arrangement is advised only in rare circumstances, as it is rare that this would be in the children’s best interests.
Note, remember that an attorney will be able to answer the questions specific to your case. The information provided here is merely basic in nature and is no substitute for an actual attorney. If you have questions about your case, call TR Spencer & Associates, P.C. and speak with one of our experienced attorney's at: (801)-566-1884. 

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