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Answering Your Questions on Sole Versus Joint Custody

If you’re going through a divorce or parenting issue, you may be confused about what the different types of child custody are and what they mean for you as a parent. If, after reading this, you still have questions, please feel free to call our office at (801) 784-0529.

Custody is divided into two categories. The first is physical custody, which refers to where the child actually lives or the amount of “overnights” each parent is assigned. The other is called legal custody and refers to who has authority to make important decisions regarding the child. These two categories are laid out in the Utah Code under Title 30, Chapter 3 in Section 10.1. Here is the link in case you want to visit it yourself.

Both types of custody can be discussed in terms of sole or joint custody. Sole custody means held primarily or completely by one parent, while joint custody essentially means custody "shared" between both parents.

In general, there is a presumption of joint legal custody (both parents would be able to make important decisions regarding the child), where as physical custody is determined in terms of what is in the best interest of the child. There are several factors the court will evaluate to determine which arrangement is best for the child. All of those factors are laid out in the Utah Code under Title 30, Chapter 3 in Section 10.2(2). Here is a link if you are interested in reviewing the factors.

In order for you to get a better idea of what joint and sole physical custody looks like logistically, joint custody is where the child spends more than 111 nights (more than 30% of each year) at each parent’s throughout the course of one year. Sole physical custody generally means the child lives more than 225 nights at one parent’s home throughout one year.

It is important to note, in general, even when parents share joint legal custody, the mother will be assigned the final decision making authority. If at some point, the parents do not agree and the mother makes a final decision for the child, the father can contest that decision through mediation and court.

We understand that the different custody scenarios can be confusing, and our attorneys at Atticus Legal Group are willing to answer any questions you have regarding your custody action. Call us at (801) 784-0529 for a free consultation.

Client Reviews
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Mckail is an amazing young attorney that knows exactly what to do. More knowledgeable than some of her peers that have been practicing for over 20 years. Very detailed oriented in the entire process. Has no problem confronting other lawyers when it comes to fairness of her clients. Would recommend to anyone going through a divorce to call Atticus Legal Group before anyone else.
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Mckail Hamilton is professional, she has a great understanding of what the needs and wants of her clients are. She also is able to offer realistic expectations and she works hard to get things done in a timely manner. Mckail made this emotional process a lot more manageable for me. Thanks again. Amy M.