Utah Child Custody Laws

Utah Child Custody Issues & Resources

Utah Child Custody

Utah child custody will be determined based upon the best interests of the child. In determining best interests,  a Utah Court will consider the following:
  • the past conduct and moral standards of the parents; 

  • the welfare of the child; 

  • the child's preference if the child is at least 12 years of age; 

  • which parent is likely to act in the best interests of the child; and

  • which parent is likely to allow frequent and continuing contact with the other parent. 

There is a presumption that a spouse who has been abandoned by the other spouse is entitled to child custody.

A Utah Court may order Joint custody if 

  • it will be in the best interests of the child; and 

  • both parents agree to joint custody; or 

  • both parents appear capable of implementing joint custody; and 

  • based upon a consideration of the following factors: 

    • whether the physical, psychological, or emotional needs and development of the child will benefit; 

    • the ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child's best interests; 

    • whether each parent can encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and the other parent;

    • whether both parents participated in child rearing before the filing of the divorce; 

    • the geographical proximity of the homes of the parents;

    • if the child is of sufficient age and maturity, the preference of the child;

    • the maturity of the parents and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents; and 

    • any other factor that the court finds relevant.

The Utah child custody statute contains advisory guidelines for visitation schedules, broken down by age of the child.

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