No matter where you are located or what the circumstances may be, child custody cases are some of the most delicate cases in existence. This is largely due to the fact that children are innocent parties and yet, are ultimately the ones who are most affected by the ruling or judgment being decreed by the court. Fortunately, if you live in the SLC Utah area, child custody attorney David Pedrazas is a seasoned professional who can help get your concerns heard and lead the way to an amicable resolution to the situation.
What is Child Custody and Visitation?
Many people come to our office asking the question; “what is the difference between child custody and visitation?” Below we have explained the difference between custody and visitation in Utah.
Simply put, child custody refers to the fact that every child needs a suitable parental figure to be responsible for helping them learn, grow, and make decisions on the daily basis. Ideally, when a family is together and thriving, custody essentially belongs to neither parent as both are active members of the child’s life. On the flip side, when the parents split up or were never living in the same house, to begin with, they typically need to go to family court to let the judge decide which one of them is more suited to take on the role of custodial parent, most of the time.
On the flip side, visitation is a term to describe time spent with non-custodial parents. Ideally, the time will be divided fairly equally between the parents. However, in the case in which one parent is considered to be irresponsible, does not have the time or resources, or even if they live too far away, they may have to spend considerably less time with the non-custodial parent. Furthermore, circumstances and family dynamics tend to change over time. So, especially in cases in which the child or children are very young when the custody case is originally heard, the family may need to return for child custody modifications.
Either way, going to court for child custody is not always ideal but it is typically helpful in avoiding a future filled with arguments and spats over who is supposed to do what with regards to raising the children. For instance, holidays are typically a time of special concern as each parent most likely wants to spend time with the kids. With emotions and tensions running high, odds are, by the time the resolution is reached, it will have done more harm than good to all parties involved.
How Child Custody in Utah is Determined
When parents divorce, Utah state law prefers to make it possible for the mother and the father to continue to play a meaningful role in the lives of the children. Neither parent receives any preference under state law, and the family law courts in Salt Lake City will rule in favor of a parenting plan that provides the parent with joint legal and physical child custody Utah, provided that this is in the best interests of the children. In other cases, one parent receives sole custody while the other receives rights of parent time. The provisions of Utah Code §30-3-10 contain several different factors that will influence the decision of how to award child custody Utah in a divorce between parents, including:
- How well each parent is prepared to make the child’s welfare a top priority and to work for solutions that serve the child’s best interests
- The degree to which each parent is willing to support a relationship between the child and the other parent
- How much each parent took part in raising the child prior to the divorce
- Where each parent will live after the divorce
- The child’s preference, provided that the child is sufficiently mature to express a reasoned decision
- Any history of domestic violence or child abuse
Click here to download this Parent Time Utah Infographic as a PDF
Whenever possible, it is preferable to resolve a divorce where children are involved with an out-of-court settlement. This approach — which is referred to as an uncontested divorce — has the advantage of preventing a heated custody battle and the expense and stress of litigation. It also allows the parents to maintain greater control over the final outcome, as they work together to decide on a parenting plan rather than subject to the arbitrary court orders issued by the judge in a contested divorce. Even if this is not possible, a Salt Lake City divorce lawyer from the Law Office of David Pedrazas can help you pursue a favorable resolution to your case with a minimum of expense and emotional trauma for your children.
Paternity Actions To Obtain Child Custody Utah
If you are the father of a child who was born out of wedlock, you do not have any legal rights and responsibilities in respect to the child, unless you and the mother signed a form to acknowledge your paternity at the time of birth. In such a case, you will have to take legal action to obtain rights of child custody Utah or parent time. A paternity action may be as simple as going to court with the mother to affirm that you are the child’s father, or it may be necessary to use DNA testing to establish your biological relationship with your child. Contact us for a free child custody Utah case evaluation now to discuss the situation and learn about how we can help.
Contact Our Experienced Child Custody Attorney in SLC, Utah
Although it may be tempting to go it alone, hiring a knowledgeable child custody lawyer can save you tons of time, turmoil, money, and more. Indeed, despite the fact that it may seem simple enough to meet up with the other parent and create your own agreement, over time, you will find that without a firm agreement in place, things will go haywire. However, by contacting your friends at the Law Office of David Pedrazas, PLLC, you will have an expert at your fingertips to help you navigate through the confusing child custody laws in Salt Lake City and help you reach a resolution that is best for everyone involved. Give us a call at 801-263-7078 for a free case evaluation.