Utah has a few different types of child custody. Determining which type of custody best suits your situation may cause you stress. Some parents aim to get full custody for no other reason than to punish their ex-spouse. As tempting as that may be, it is important to keep the bigger picture in mind here. In many cases, full custody is not what is best for your children.

In a divorce or paternity case, the court will establish one of these two custody types:

    1. Legal Custody
    2. Physical Custody


Legal Custody

Legal custody of a child means you have the right and the obligation to make decisions regarding their upbringing.


Sole Legal Custody: Sole legal custody means only one of the parents will make important decisions for the child. Many factors go into awarding sole legal custody.


Joint Legal Custody: Joint physical custody means both parents make crucial decisions for the child together using a parenting plan. If parties cannot come to an agreement, mediation or another alternate resolution method may be required. 


Physical Custody

Physical custody means that one parent has the right to have the child reside with them.


Sole Physical Custody: In many cases, if sole physical custody is awarded, the other, non-custodial parent is awarded parent-time. Utah law has outlined a minimum visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent for children ages four and under and those five and older (up to age 18). The court will determine a schedule that is in the child’s best interest based on several different factors they deem relevant.


Joint Physical Custody: When joint physical custody is awarded, both parents will share physical time with their child. Joint physical custody typically works best when both parties live in the same general area. The child must live in each parent’s home at least 111 nights per year.


Custody Arrangements 

Custody arrangements can be complicated; there is no one-size-fits-all arrangement. Here are some examples of custody arrangements: 


Sole Legal and Sole Physical: Either parent may be awarded sole custody of the child. If sole custody is granted, the child lives with one parent, and that parent makes the major decisions regarding the child’s life. Usually, the other party will have parent-time.


Joint Legal and Joint Physical: Joint custody means the child lives with both parents, who, together, make important decisions about their child. Ideally, this is for parties that co-parent well.


Joint Legal and Sole Physical: In this arrangement, the child lives with one parent for more than 225 nights every year and has parent-time with the non-custodial parent. Both parents work together to make important decisions about the child.


Split Custody: This arrangement means that each party is given sole physical custody of one (or more) child when the two parents share more than one child. Legal custody may be joint or sole and is determined by the court.


Contact The Ault Firm

The complexities of custody arrangements are overwhelming, and the team of attorneys is here to make sure you do not face it alone. The Ault Firm is experienced in custody battles and wants to represent you. Call The Ault Firm today.