Advocating for the Best Interests of Our Clients and Their Children
Family law cases are frequently stressful and emotional. Sadly, these feelings are even more amplified when the legal issue at hand is child custody and visitation. Parents typically want what is best for their children, but opinions on what this means can vary drastically. And while every custody arrangement is supposed to account for the best interests of the child, the simple fact is that the courts don’t always get their decisions right. This is why it’s important to have an advocate on your side. A child custody lawyer in South Jordan may be able to help.
At RCG Law Group, you’ll work directly with a family law attorney who is committed to securing a favorable outcome on your behalf. Whether you’re seeking full legal custody or need a modification to an order that no longer works, our law firm can help you better understand your options, file the appropriate paperwork, and represent you in court if necessary. A single bad decision in a child custody case can have lasting effects, so it’s imperative that you’re adequately prepared for whatever comes next. Contact us today to discuss your case.
How Does Child Custody Work in Utah?
If you’re up against your ex-husband or ex-wife — or even just a former partner — it’s important to realize that child custody isn’t a one-dimensional issue. It’s complex and dynamic, and Utah law will play a significant role in everything from custody arrangements to the creation of a parenting schedule. This is why it’s critical to understand the basics of this area of law. Working with a South Jordan child custody attorney is ideal — but the following knowledge can also prove invaluable:
Legal custody relates to a parent’s rights to choose their child’s education, religious upbringing, medical treatment, and other important decisions. A parent with sole custody will get to make these decisions on their own. However, the state prefers joint custody arrangements. In fact, there’s a presumption that joint legal custody is in the best interest of the child. A parent who wants primary custody will need to prove otherwise in court.
When former spouses or partners share legal custody, there will be times when disagreements exist. The best way to avoid issues is to settle potential issues in the initial custody order. For instance, a judge may give individual authority to a single parent for certain decisions — even when legal custody is shared. Clearly, this can be complex. That’s why you should speak with a South Jordan child custody attorney before moving forward.
Physical custody (i.e., residential custody) relates to where a child spends their time. These decisions will dictate where the child lives along with who is responsible for daily control and care of the child (e.g., preparing meals, bathing, etc.). When one parent is given full custody, they are considered the primary caregiver. The child will live with this parent, but the other parent will typically be granted a visitation schedule — known as “parenting time” in the state of Utah.
The primary custodial parent will have their child for the majority of the time. However, it’s also possible that the child may spend more time with one parent even when custody is shared. In Utah, joint physical custody simply means the child stays overnight with each parent for at least 30% of the time. With this form of partial custody, the courts may also identify one parent as the primary caretaker. This is common when a primary residence must be established for school purposes.
What Are the Main Considerations in a Child Custody Proceeding?
Whether you’re going through a divorce or were never married to your child’s other parent, things can get complex when in court. In all cases, the best interests of the child are paramount — and a judge will consider many factors to reach a decision on this matter. Such considerations include the following, but keep in mind that this list is far from exhaustive:
- Each party’s ability to parent
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- Custodial preferences of the child
- History of parental involvement and caregiving
- Stability and continuity
- Each parent’s willingness to support the child’s relationship with their other parent
- Claims of domestic violence
- Whether the child has a sibling
- Physical and mental health of each parent
- Geographic proximity — particularly when it could affect a child’s ability to maintain relationships with both parents
These considerations can lead to shared custody, supervised partial physical custody, supervised visitation, and a variety of other outcomes. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to predict which result is most likely. Additionally, other hurdles (e.g., establishing paternity, claims of abuse) can complicate matters.
Because of these and other issues, working with a child custody attorney in South Jordan may be in your best interest. This is true even if a custody order has been issued in your case already. Child custody modifications are frequently issued by the courts when a substantial change in circumstances has occurred. Don’t hesitate to contact our law firm if you’re hoping to secure a modification.
Can Parents Reach Their Own Child Custody Agreement?
Family court can be difficult, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. That’s because parents have the option to create their own custody agreements. In fact, Utah courts prefer when this happens. In a perfect scenario, the parents would have shared custody of their child. This means they would work together to make decisions and work toward establishing an ongoing relationship that’s healthy for their youngsters.
However, it’s important to remember that any agreement must be approved by Utah courts. That’s why working with a South Jordan child custody lawyer is wise even when it seems you’ve reached an amicable solution. The simple fact is that custody and visitation agreements still must be approved by the courts. If a judge doesn’t believe that an agreement is in the child’s best interest, they may throw it out and issue their own order.
Parents, grandparents, and anyone else involved in a child custody case need to understand that there are strict guidelines in Utah family court. Our law firm can help ensure you’re following them. We can also assist if you’ve jointly decided to modify the current custody order to better meet the current needs of your child. Contact us today.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in South Jordan, UT Today
Whether you’re up against an ex-spouse, former fling, or even the parent of your grandchildren, it’s important to understand your rights and how child custody works in Utah. Any custody dispute has the potential to be costly and time-consuming, and even if you reach an agreement with the other parent, there are still legal requirements that must be met. By working with the right law office, you can simplify these issues moving forward.
At RCG Law Group, our experienced family law attorneys can help you seek a beneficial child custody order or visitation agreement. In all cases, the child’s best interest is the motivating factor. However, it’s up to the parties involved to show the courts how these interests can best be met. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to predict how a judge will rule — but it’s possible to build a strong case and even modify existing custody orders.