Utah Divorce Custody
In the year 1980, uniform Child Custody Act was adopted. According to Utah divorce custody laws (3-3-10 of Utah Statutes), the best interests of the child are considered to be the most important while awarding custody of the child. The following factors are considered important while awarding child custody:
- The parent-child bond is considered to be most important while awarding child custody. To which parent does the child turn to during emotional moments? Which parent prioritizes his/her life to meet the emotional, educational needs of the child? The parent who is found to connect well with the child is generally awarded the custody of the child.
- Courts try to assess if each parent encourages the child to bond well with the other parent during visitations and does not attempt to alienate the child and the parent. Judges avoid awarding custody to the parent who is likely to instill negative feeling for the other parent in the mind of the child. Even if that parent has been the primary caretaker of the child, still courts do not award custody of the child to such a parent.
- UT joint custody is awarded to the parents if the judges are convinced that booth the parents would cooperate with each other regarding child care. One parent gets the physical custody of the child while the other parent gets the visitation rights. The non-custodial parent hence, has access to the childís time during weekends, holidays and vacations.
- If the parents are located nearby after the divorce then, judges would prefer the parents to share the day-to-day time of the child as well. The mental maturity exhibited by the parents in protecting the child from their chaos is also an important factor while awarding joint custody.
- While handling UT divorce custody cases, judges try to determine if there are any police records against a parent regarding child neglect, child abuse or physical violence etc. In such cases the offending parent is not given the custody of the child and visitation rights of that parent may also be forfeited. In most of the cases, such a parent is allowed supervised visitations where a professional authority as designated by the court would be present when the child interacts with the non-custodial parent.
- Parental preferences of the child of 16 years and above are asked in Utah child custody cases. Judges try to ensure that the child is under no pressure and influence while expressing his/her opinion.
- 30-3-37 of Utah statutes specify that if the custodial parent is moving out of state or 150 miles away from the current location, then he/she needs to provide prior notice to the non-custodial parent and also to the court. Court may then finalize date of hearing of such case if the visitation time needs to be altered for the best interests of the child. In such cases, the courts consider the actual reasons of relocation, additional expenses that the non-custodial parent would be facing as result of such a movement. The court may then ask the custodial parent to bear the expenses of the non-custodial parent at least once in a year.
- According to 30-5-2 Utah statues, grandparentís visitation rights are awarded to the grandparent if the court determines that the custodial parent and the grandparent don not have personal disputes. Custody of the child to the grandparent or any non-parent is awarded only if both the parents are found to be unfit and totally incapable of raising the child. In non-parent custody matters, the actual bond between the child and the non-parent is assessed, and such custody is awarded only if the child has been with them for a year or so.
- Parents would be asked to pay some amount of adjusted gross incomes to bear the financial expenses of the child, which is called the child support. The amount of child support would vary depending on the lifestyle that the child has been leading, his/her special medical, educational needs, other financial obligations of the parents etc.
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