Our state is rife with information that can both help and impede progress in a child custody case. Utah courts has a ton of helpful information that you might wish to consider when thinking about the best interests for children of divorce.

Best interests

The court may order any custody or parent time arrangement created by the parents once it determines that the arrangement is in the child’s best interests. When there are disputes about custody, then the court will order the custody arrangement that is in the child’s best interests.
The court examines many factors to determine the child’s best interests. Some of those factors, identified in statutes, are listed below. However, some of these factors might not be relevant in your case. And there might be factors relevant in your case that are not listed.

General factors for determining the best interests of a child if the parents dispute custody:

  • the parents’ conduct and moral standards.
  • which parent is more likely to act in the child’s best interest.
  • which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the other parent.
  • the depth, quality, and nature of the relationship between a parent and child.

The judge may ask a child who the child wants to live with, but the desires of a child—regardless of age—are not controlling, and the court may determine custody contrary to the child’s desires.
In determining whether the best interest of a child will be served by ordering joint legal or physical custody, the court may consider the following factors:

  • whether joint legal custody or joint physical custody will benefit the child’s physical, psychological, and emotional needs or the child’s development.
  • the parents’ ability to give first priority to the child’s welfare and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest.
  • whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent, including the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent.
  • whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce.
  • the distance between the parents’ homes.
  • the child’s preference (if the child can form a preference about joint legal or physical custody).
  • the parents’ maturity and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents.
  • the parents’ ability to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly.
  • any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping and
  • any other factors the court finds relevant.

emy a. cordano

I am Emy Cordano, a family law attorney based in Salt Lake City. I concentrate my practice on divorce and family law matters; I am not a general practice lawyer. Family law is all I do. Here you'll find additional articles and advice that I make available to anyone facing family law issues.

With further questions, give me a call at:
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