Once Salt Lake City parents choose to divorce or separate, one of their most important concerns is the care and protection of any children.
The process of determining child custody can be difficult, filled with stress, and emotionally draining for both the parents as well as the children. However, it is possible to determine child custody and manage parenting plans with the right child custody attorneys. As with all family law cases involving children, the court will consider the best interests and needs of the children when determining child custody.
4 Types Of Child Custody
Determining legal custody arrangements requires a thorough review of each family’s circumstances. In Salt Lake City, there are four main types of child custody. These can be modified to best suit the children’s needs or the entire family’s safety.
These are the four types of child custody:
- Sole Legal/Physical
One parent is granted sole legal and physical custody.
This means that the custodial parent will have full control over decisions regarding the children. Time visits may be granted to the other parent, but in most cases of this nature, the children will live with the custodial parent.
- Joint Legal/Physical
Joint custody, as the name implies, allows both parents to make decisions regarding the children.
Most cases involving joint custody involve the children living with their parents for different periods throughout the year. Therefore, each case is unique, and the details of joint custody will vary.
- Joint Legal/Sole Physical
While similar to joint custody, where both parents have the decision-making power, this situation is a little different because children will live with one parent full time and have visitation rights with the other.
This is a common type of child custody. It is especially useful if both parents are employed or the children need to have a steady schedule. For example, if the children attend a school or are involved in extracurricular activities.
- Split Custody
Split custody is a type of custody that allows parents to have individual custody over different children.
Split custody can be ordered if the court deems it in the children’s best interest to divide them into separate households. One parent could be granted sole custody with full decision-making authority if this is the case.
In all of these varying situations, legal guidance is crucial. It’s important to find a great child custody lawyer in Salt Lake City who is knowledgeable in Utah laws. Thus, you and your ex-spouse can make the best decision for your family.
If Both Parents Share Custody, Does Anyone Pay Child Support?
Child support is calculated based on gross monthly income and other expenses. Therefore, who spends the most or least amount with the child is not a determination of support obligation.
Can A Parent Refuse Visitation If Child Support Is Not Paid?
In Salt Lake City, you can’t refuse visitation.
Child support payments, or their inability to be paid, are completely independent from a parent’s right to see or be in contact with their child. However, if you have further concerns regarding this, you should take it up with your lawyer.
When Can My Child Decide Which Parent To Live With?
The court will only consider the child’s wishes if the child can make informed and independent decisions about the parenting schedule. In Salt Lake City, Utah, lawyers usually cannot consider a child’s preference until they are fourteen.
Do Grandparents Have Custody And Visitation Rights?
In Salt Lake City, grandparents do not have rights.
Third parties cannot have visitation rights to minor children without a separate action. Recently, however, a bill passed the legislature in March 2011. It granted grandparents the right to visit children whose parents had been removed by the state.
A Parenting Plan
A parenting plan is submitted by parents—with the legal advice of lawyers—to the court for the allocation of parenting time, holiday visits, and other matters.
This is required for any joint legal or physical custody in Salt Lake City. In addition, both parties must know and understand the terms of visitation, decision-making, tax exemptions, and other details. Violation of the parenting plan can result in enforcing the order.
Parental Kidnapping & Moving Out Of State
Utah has a Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act. It was created to protect the child and the parent if one parent illegally abducts a child and refuses to return.
Courts have the power to limit parenting time if certain factors are met. It also allows warrants to be issued for the arrest of an offending party. This ties in with the Hague Convention to ensure the return of kidnapped children.
Furthermore, the custodial parent can’t move out of state without the other parent’s consent in Salt Lake City.
Can Child Custody Be Modified?
After a Salt Lake City court has decided custody via a Decree of Divorce or Decree of Custody, you will need to show that there was a significant or material change in circumstances that were not anticipated at the time of the decree before making any modifications. You must then show that the custody change is in the child’s best interests.
If the child’s current environment threatens his or her physical health, an immediate modification to the parenting time can be requested.