Utah County Child Custody Attorney

Protecting the Best Interests of Children in Salt Lake County 

At Preston Day Law, PLLC, we empathize with any parent that must go through the process of determining how child custody should be awarded. Whether you decide to create a custody agreement and parenting plan with your spouse or require the assistance of the court to do so, we will advocate on your behalf to ensure you and your child’s rights are protected. 

Legal Custody Versus Physical Custody 

There are two types of custody available: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to which parent will be responsible for making decisions for the child and taking care of his/her wellbeing. Legal custody consists of determining where the child will go to school, what kind of medical care the child will receive, what religion the child will practice, and more. It is common for both parents to share legal custody. 

Physical custody refers to where the child will live. The parent the child will spend most of their time with is the custodial parent, whereas the parent the child spends less time with is called the noncustodial parent. 

How Do Utah Courts Determine Custody?

If you and your spouse cannot determine how to share custody, the court will do so on your behalf. 

Here are some factors the court may consider when making a custody determination:

  • Relationship between each parent and the child
  • Parents’ ability to cooperate and co-parent together
  • Child’s preferences (when appropriate)
  • Each parent’s participation in raising and caring for the child before the divorce
  • Child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs
  • The overall health of each parent
  • History of alcohol and/or substance abuse
  • Any instances of domestic violence
  • Additional factors the court deems would be in the child’s best interests

Modifying a Child Custody Order in Utah 

There are two ways to ask the court to change child support: a Motion to Adjust and a Petition to Modify. Under Utah family law, for the court to grant a change of custody, you must present enough evidence to show that a material and substantial change of circumstances has occurred and that a change in custody would be in the best interests of the child. 

What Age Can a Child Decide a Custodial Parent? 

A child’s preference is one of the factors the court will consider when awarding custody. It is important to note that this is not the only factor, and the court wants to do what is in line with the child’s best interest. Therefore, if a child wishes to live with a parent that abuses alcohol, the court may not agree with the child’s preferences. While there is not a set age for when a child can determine a custodial parent, the court will consider the child’s preferences if they are over the age of 14. 

Consult with Our Firm About Your Custody Case

At Preston Day, PLLC, our Utah County child custody lawyer understands the importance of securing a custody order that puts your child’s interests first. We have the experience, knowledge, and skills to help you determine what choices will protect you and your family and help everyone involved move forward with their lives in as amicable a way as possible. 

Call (801) 335-6261 to schedule an appointment with our attorney or complete our contact us form online to get started.

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    When legal matters become contentious, having an attorney in your corner who is comfortable in the courtroom and well-versed in litigation can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. For your family law and criminal defense needs in the greater Salt Lake City, Utah area, I am ready and willing to stand up and fight for you.

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    I understand that your legal issue, whether family-related or involving criminal charges, may be the most stressful and difficult experience of your life. Having an attorney who is focused on protecting your best interests and making sure you are put in the most favorable position available will give you peace of mind as you move forward.

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