Understanding the 4 Main Types of Child Custody in Utah

Child custody is one of the most important issues that needs to be addressed and resolved in a Utah divorce. Will the kids spend more time with you or your former spouse? Which parent (if not both) will have the authority to make legal and medical decisions for them? The answers will help you (or a judge) determine what type of custody arrangement is in the children’s best interests.

In Utah, there are four primary types of custody arrangements. Which one is best for your family will depend on a variety of factors, such as the age of the children, proximity of each parent’s residence to their school, which parent has always been the primary caregiver, whether or not domestic violence was present in the household, and more.

Sole Legal and Physical Custody

In this situation, the children live with you or your spouse full-time, and that parent has the legal authority to make all major decision affecting their lives. Unless circumstances advise otherwise, the parent who does not receive custody is awarded parenting time.

Joint Legal and Physical Custody

This is the preferred arrangement when parents are willing to be amicable and work together for the best interests of the children. Joint legal custody means that you and your former spouse will, whenever possible, make mutual decisions regarding matters such as:

  • Where the kids will go to school
  • What medical or dental procedures they will undergo
  • What after-school activities they will participate in

In a joint physical custody situation, the children will live with each parent for at least 111 nights a year, and both of you are equally responsible for meeting their physical needs. If you and your ex will be living in the same general area, this type of shared custody could work.

Joint Legal and Sole Physical Custody

In this arrangement, both parents make important decisions about the children, but they will live with one of you for at least 225 nights out of every year while the other parent will have regular parenting time.

Split Custody

Split custody in a multi-child family means that you and your spouse each receive sole physical custody of at least one child. Legal custody of all the children may or may not be shared.

Child custody matters can be complicated, confusing, and emotional, and the ideal resolution will allow both parents to play a central role in the lives of their children. At Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins we have a thorough understanding of the different custody options available to you and can help you decide what arrangement works for you while fulfilling the best interests of your children. Call us today to schedule a consultation and receive the supportive, knowledgeable advice you need to make the best decision for everyone involved.

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Written by Arnold Wadsworth Coggins

Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins Attorneys is a premier Utah law firm serving the Wasatch Front in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, criminal law, and civil litigation. Our attorneys provide clients with exceptional legal representation and personal attention. With over 35 years of trial practice and litigation experience, we bring big firm expertise at affordable rates