Family Matters: What You Should Know About Child Custody

Parents discussing child custody with lawyer

When couples divorce, it’s not only the man and the woman who’s involved in the legal matters. The children are very much part of the conversation and decisions as well. In fact, the court prioritizes the over-all well-being of kids when parents choose to break up. One important consideration in this set-up is child custody, which refers to the responsibility of caring for the child.

Overview of Child Custody

In many instances, the term “child custody” is used loosely. But in legal terms, there are actually different kinds of child custody. The first one is physical custody, which involves determining where the child will live. Another type is legal custody, which refers to the authority of a parent to decide on major life decisions for the child, including which school to go to or which religion to be affiliated in.

Joint custody refers to both parents sharing guardianship. In the context of sole custody, though, the court grants either or both types of custody to just one parent. To know what’s best for your situation, consult a child custody lawyer. Kelly & Bramwell, P.C. and other Utah experts can help you determine the best plan of legal action.

The Basis of Court’s Decision

Similar to other states, family courts in Utah decide on child custody matters based on the “best interests of the child.” A joint legal custody is what the courts deem as promoting the best interests of the child, except if there’s a history of domestic violence, the kid has special needs, or the parents’ separate houses are too distant from each other.

The judge looks at different factors to determine “best interests.” For instance, previous parental conduct and the “demonstrated moral standards of each of the parties.” They also consider the relationship and bonding of each parent with the child. The child’s preferences and their physical, mental, and emotional needs will be prioritized as well.

The court often grants custody to the parent who’s more likely to have the best interest of the child in mind, including not withholding the kid from the non-custodial parent, allowing kids to spend time with them.

Family courts weigh in on a lot more other factors when deciding child custody matters. In sensitive situations like this, consult your lawyer to know what your options are and which legal route is the best for your child.