Protecting Your Parental Rights in Utah

Issues pertaining to child custody are some of the most difficult legal matters most parents will ever face. Understandably, the thought of spending less time with your children is likely an uneasy one. However, with a skilled child custody lawyer, you have guidance to navigate the complexities of this emotionally taxing experience and ensure your parental rights are protected.

At Full Circle Family Law, a compassionate Murray child custody lawyer can guide you through every step of this process with clarity and skill. With our family law attorneys on your side, you can feel certain your children’s best interests will be represented.

How is Child Custody Determined in Utah?

When rendering a child custody order, the judge on your case will examine numerous factors to determine which arrangement serves the best interests of the children.

Below are just some of the factors a judge will consider in such cases:

  • Who has been the primary caregiver in the past
  • Each parent’s ability to parent and co-parent
  • The relationship the children have with their parents, extended family members, and others who may have a substantial impact on the children
  • The ability of each parent to provide a stable home environment for the children
  • The children’s adjustment to their community, home, and school
  • Depending on the maturity of the children, their preferences may be considered through the use of a professional third party
  • A history of substance abuse or violence
  • Any other relevant factors that may affect the children

An attorney in Murray can review the full list of factors that may affect a child custody determination during an initial consultation. 

Joint Custody and Sole Custody in Utah

There are two elements involved in child custody – physical custody and legal custody. Legal custody refers to the decision-making rights of a parent, such as those pertaining to education, religion, and health. Physical custody refers to where the children will reside or spend their time.

Generally, family courts believe joint legal custody serves the best interests of the children, though they may award one parent with sole physical custody, making him or her the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent will receive parent time to ensure the children continue to maintain a relationship with both parents. If the court finds evidence that a child would be subject to physical or emotional harm, parent time will be supervised to ensure the children’s safety.

What Age Can a Child Decide Which Parent to Live With?

What Age Can a Child Decide Which Parent to Live With in Utah?

The short answer is: when the child reaches the age of majority and the court no longer has jurisdiction.

The rumor that children can choose who to live with at age 14 is a myth. The closest a child comes to “making that decision” falls under Utah Statute 30-3-10(2)(p), “the stated wishes and concerns of the child, taking into consideration the child’s cognitive ability and emotional maturity.” If the child’s preference is to be considered, it is done through the use of either a Guardian ad Litem appointed to be the child’s attorney and advocate in the court proceedings or a custody evaluation in which a mental health professional studies an individual family’s situation and makes professional recommendations on what would be in the best interest of the child.

The court will always make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child, which may or may not be what the child prefers. It is important to have a skilled Murray custody lawyer on your side to ensure the best interest of the child.

Reach Out to Our Compassionate Murray Child Custody Attorneys Today!

If you are facing a child custody dispute, it is crucial to hire skilled legal representation to guide you through the process and protect your rights as a parent. At Full Circle Family Law, an experienced Murray child custody lawyer has the insight, knowledge, and compassion to get you through this trying situation. We are familiar with the difficulties you and your family are facing and will provide the support you need to reach the most effective and efficient solution. Schedule a consultation now.