South Jordan Child Custody Attorney
The divorce process is fraught with issues that can be difficult to work through. When a couple has children, the decisions on how these kids will be raised is likely to be one of the hardest. Our South Jordan child custody lawyer has a deep understanding of Utah law, what it requires, and how to be an advocate for clients and their children.
RCG Law Group gives all our clients personalized attention and understands that every family faces its own unique set of legal concerns.
4 Types of Child Custody in Utah
Child custody can be set up in two different ways, dealing with two different aspects of parental authority. Custody can be joint or sole, and it deals with both physical and legal issues.
Attorney Ryan Gregerson has been practicing family law for over 13 years. Call us today at (801) 396-9656 or reach out here online to set up a free consultation. RCG Law Group also serves clients throughout West Jordan, Draper, Sandy, and surrounding areas.
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Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody
Physical custody is about deciding where the children will live—that is, settling on their physical surroundings. Legal custody is more nuanced. It includes decision-making authority in important areas of a child’s life.
For example, will a child have a religious upbringing? If so, what kind? The parental authority to make that decision falls under legal custody and in a divorce, it must be resolved. If a doctor recommends a child undergo surgery, what parent decides if that recommendation will be followed? For that matter, who has the authority to take the child to the doctor’s office and act in a parental capacity to begin with? That is authority that is conferred by legal custody.
Awards & Associations
Both physical and legal custody can be resolved through joint or sole custody. In the case of sole custody, one parent is given control. Joint custody means authority is evenly shared between the ex-spouses.
A Utah family law judge will consider only the best interests of the child. This means decisions that can seem unfair to the parents might be made if it is in the child’s best interest. An example might come in the area of physical custody. Both parents may be responsible people who care for their children, and have suitable accommodations. But one parent lives a block from the school, while the other is a 40-minute drive. It may be determined, under this hypothetical example, that the child’s best interests are served by granting sole physical custody to the parent who lives by the school.
Having said that, judges will also typically begin a child custody case with certain presumptions. An important presumption is that the best interests of the child is served by having both parents equally involved in their life. If one parent believes, for whatever reason, that this is not the case, then that parent—and their South Jordan child custody lawyer have the responsibility of proving it in court.
A difficult example might be if one parent wants sole custody because the other is alleged to have an alcohol or substance abuse problem. In a case like this, the parent seeking sole custody needs to gather evidence proving the allegation. This may come in the form of credit card receipts at the local liquor store or drinking establishment, testimony from friends and colleagues, odd texts or emails sent at strange hours, and other indicators of the problem.
It's possible the judge may want to hear from the children themselves. It must be emphasized that, by the letter of the law, children have no authority to decide what parent they will be placed with. As a practical matter though, judges tend to give children aged 14 or older a better hearing.
Custody can be split between sole and joint. To illustrate this point, let’s return to our example of the case where sole physical custody was given because one parent lived right by the child’s school. In this case, we’re presuming the other parent is fully responsible. The simple fact they live further away from school may have resulted in their need to accept visitation rights, rather than joint custody, but it does not deal with legal custody. This parent can still be given joint custody in the legal realm. In fact, it’s not uncommon for custody disputes to be settled with sole physical custody (and visitation given to non-custodial parents) and joint legal custody.
Real Leadership From a Family Attorney Who Cares
Attorney Ryan Gregerson knows that the spouses who come to him for help with their child custody case want to protect their kids and help everyone involved get on with living their lives. RCG Law Group exists to make sure those parents can get the reliable legal counsel they need to work out a fair custody plan that will pass judicial muster. Let us help you next.
Call today at (801) 396-9656 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
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