How to Get Custody of Your Child in Utah

Anyone seeking custody of a child in Utah needs to understand the local laws and courts. The Alder Group, based in Salt Lake City, understands child custody laws and can help you find the best situation for your situation. This page is meant to be a child custody primer. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to call us.

Custody usually specifies who has authority to make decisions for the child or where the child calls home if the parents live in separate houses. There are two different types of custody.

  1. Physical Custody: This decides where the child lives.
  2. Legal Custody: The parent with legal custody makes important decisions for the child.

These two types of custodies can be shared in three different ways.

  • Sole Custody: Custody may be granted tone one parent, with visitation rights given to the other parent.
  • Joint Custody: This arrangement involves both parents. For example, both parent have the right to make decisions for their children. Joint custody requires a good working relationship between the parents. Joint physical custody is a situation where the child lives in both homes for some amount of time decided by a judge or both parents.
  • Split Custody: Split custody is when there is more than one child. For example, one child may live with the mother while the other child lives with the father.

The Custody Process

The process starts after either parent files a motion for custody of a child or children. The motion can be the result of divorce, in which case the motion is filed in an Utah juvenile court. If the parents are on the same page, they may file a motion together. After the court reviews the motion, he or she will decide if it is in the best interest of the child. If the parents do not agree on the conditions of custody, each parent will submit their own plan. The court will look them both over and decide which is in the best interest of the child.

Defining The Best Interests of a Child

How does the court decide what is the best interest of the child? The court will generally conduct relevant research, which could include:

  • Medical, psychiatric and psychological evaluations of the parents and children
  • Finances of both parents
  • Family relations
  • Character
  • Past conduct

Tax Issues

In the case of divorce, who gets to claim the child on their income tax forms? The parent who lives with the child in a sole custody arrangement gets to claim the child for income tax purposes. Of course, there are situations where a judge may issue an order stating otherwise. The tax arrangement could be modified for your specific situations, with options such as alternating years or creating a buy out clause, allowing one parent to reimburse to the other parent the amount that they would receive if they were the parent taking the deduction.

The Alder Law Group

The Alder Law Group is Utah’s best source for family law issues, including child custody. If you have any questions or you need representation, please give us a call. (801) 463-2600.