Parenting and Child Custody During a Divorce or Paternity Action In Salt Lake City, Utah
Determining how children will be raised is never an easy issue, especially during a divorce or paternity action where parents are very often already at odds with one another. Historically, one parent has been named as Primary Residential Parent and the other as Secondary Residential Parent. More recently, legislation has changed the statutory custody requirements regarding and the language used to describe the parenting of children. Professional Salt Lake City child custody attorney support will help you navigate through those changes.
Under the current statute, neither parent is primary or secondary, and nearly all references to custody and visitation have been eliminated. Instead, all parents of minor children are required to have a Parenting Plan that describes each parent’s time-sharing and decision-making authority, while also describing the distribution of parenting responsibilities faced by all parents who are not living together.
Role of a Salt Lake City Child Custody Attorney
Salt Lake City child custody attorney Emily Smoak and Smoak Law, P.C. takes the time to help families with Parenting Plans by carefully assessing the needs of the children with our clients and effectively negotiating or litigating for a plan that addresses the best interests of the children and our client. Contact our Salt Lake City child custody law office today to set up a meeting to discuss your Parenting Plan needs with an experienced Salt Lake City family law attorney.
Focusing on Every Aspect of Your Children’s Needs When Drafting A Comprehensive Parenting Plan in Salt Lake City
A Parenting Plan is meant to be thorough not only about the rights and responsibilities of the parents when it comes to caring for their children but also every issue related to the children’s upbringing and care.
Salt Lake City child custody lawyer at Smoak Law P.C. can help you assess how your parenting choices evolved over the course of your marriage or non-marital relationship, and what should be carried over once the marriage is dissolved, or after your relationship has ended. Our Salt Lake City child custody attorney will also help you incorporate useful ideas you may pick up from the parenting class that all parents of minor children are required to complete before a divorce or paternity action will be finalized by the courts.
Some of the issues our Salt Lake City child custody attorney will help you consider and negotiate when drafting a Parenting Plan that will be accepted by the courts are:
- Educational decisions and school choice
- Transportation and exchange of children
- Communication between parents and parent to child
- Extracurricular activities
- Healthcare and insurance coverage
- Religious upbringing
- Time-sharing, including day to day and holidays
In addition, Utah parenting plans must include:
- The specific ways both parents will reach decisions when they disagree about the children’s best interests. This can include counseling, mediation, or arbitration.
It is important to understand that if one parent uses a dispute resolution method in bad faith, s/he could become responsible for the Salt Lake City child custody attorney fees of the other parent, and may be required to pay penalties.
- A housing schedule that outlines where the child(ren) will sleep on certain days. This includes birthdays, vacations, holidays, and other special events.
- A plan in case one parent wants to relocate, including the amount of notice that the relocating parent will give to the other parent, and the forthcoming changes in parenting time. This includes who will pay for the child to travel when visiting the relocating parent, and specific details about how the current parenting schedule will change.
Parenting plans do not include the following facts, which are principle segments of parenting:
- Each parent will make day to day decisions while the child is living with him or her
- Both parents may make emergency decisions to preserve the health and safety of the child
Military Parenting Plans In Salt Lake City, Utah
The Utah State Legislature has developed the laws involving military personnel and parenting plans. When one or both of a child’s parents are or become service members, additional provisions may be required to ensure the child’s best interests are at the forefront of their combined plans.
Those provisions can include:
- Dispute resolution methods while one or both are deployed
- Maintain contact with the deployed parent
- The decision-making authority during a parent’s deployment
- The care taking authority of the children during a parent’s deployment
- Visitation guidelines for non-parents
If you are considering divorce or paternity action and would like to learn more about parenting plans, and how your children will split their time between parents, our child custody attorney in Salt Lake City can help.
At Smoak Law, P.C., our family law lawyers in Salt Lake City, Utah focuses on the following practice areas:
Do You Need a Salt Lake City Child Custody Lawyer?
Our Salt Lake City child custody attorney will help you determine who will be responsible for the cost, decision-making authority, and overall structure when addressing each of these critical factors. We believe in urging parents to work together to reach decisions that are in the best interest of the children so that their Parenting Plan will be accepted by the court and conflict can be avoided later on. In many situations, a collaborative law approach can be used to facilitate this process and preserve your relationship with each other in the future as well as your relationship with your children.
Parenting Plans are meant to be meticulous and cover a child’s needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No matter the time-sharing plan, Salt Lake City Child Custody Lawyer can help you navigate through the issues to reach conditions and compromises that are comprehensive and resolve every time-sharing situation. Our Salt Lake City child custody attorneys will consider the needs and desires of the children and balance them with the lifestyles of each parent.
Frequently Asked Questions for Child Custody in Salt Lake City
What factors do courts consider when making child custody determinations?
Utah courts consider a variety of factors when making child custody determinations, including the child’s relationship with each parent, the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs, the child’s preference (if they are old enough to express one), and any history of abuse or neglect.
What types of child custody arrangements are available?
Utah laws recognize two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child lives, while legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing. Legal custody includes making religious, educational, and medical decision on behalf of the child.
Can parents in Utah share joint physical custody?
Yes, parents in Utah can share joint physical custody of their child. This means that the child spends significant amounts of time living with both parents. Joint physical custody is fairly common in Utah, but even if one parent is granted sole physical custody the other parent may be granted visitation. Parents can have joint legal custody as well.
What is the difference between sole custody and joint custody?
Sole custody means that one parent has both physical and legal custody of the child, while joint custody means that both parents share either physical custody, legal custody, or both.
What happens if the parents in Utah cannot agree on a custody arrangement?
If the parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, a judge will make the decision based on the best interests of the child.
Can a child’s preference be taken into account when making a custody determination in Utah?
Yes, a child’s preference can be taken into account when making a custody determination in Utah, but only if the child is old enough to express a preference and the judge determines that it is in the child’s best interests to consider it.
What is the difference between physical custody and visitation?
Physical custody refers to where the child lives, while visitation refers to the time that the non-custodial parent spends with the child.
Can child custody be modified in Utah?
Yes, child custody can be modified if there has been a substantial change in circumstances that makes the existing custody arrangement no longer in the child’s best interests.
How does a judge determine what is in the child’s best interests in a custody case?
A judge in Utah will consider a variety of factors when determining what is in the child’s best interests, including the child’s relationship with each parent, each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs, the child’s preference (if they are old enough to express one), and any history of abuse or neglect.
Can a parent in Utah move out of state with their child after a custody order has been established?
It depends on the terms of the custody order. If the custody order allows for the parent to move out of state with the child, then they can do so. If the custody order does not allow for this, the parent must obtain permission from the court before moving out of state with the child.
What happens if we can’t agree on a parenting plan?
If you and the other parent cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court will intervene and make a decision on your behalf. The court will typically appoint a mediator to help you and the other parent come to an agreement. If mediation is unsuccessful, the court will hold a hearing and consider evidence from both sides before making a decision. It is typically in the best interest of you and your child if you are able to agree on a parenting plan outside of court.