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The state of Utah has important guidelines and statutes concerning child custody and the making of a custody and visitation schedule. These laws are found in Title 30 of the Utah Code. Any parent who is involved in a custody situation needs to know these laws and decide how they impact the making of their personal custody and visitation schedule. Here is an overview of some of the statutes that parents may want to consider.
1. A joint custody schedule. Chapter 3, Section 10 of Title 30 contains information about how the state views joint custody. The state has a law that it considers a joint custody schedule in every custody case. This doesn't mean that joint custody is awarded in every case, only that the court will consider it. If either parent wants a shared custody arrangement, they need to make a plan that includes a schedule of parenting time and custody. They should also be prepared to explain how a joint schedule is in the best interest of the child. If a parent does not want this type of custody, they need to prove to the court that this type of arrangement is detrimental to the child.
2. How custody is awarded. The biggest part of the visitation schedule is which parent has custody and which parent has visitation. In Utah, if the parents agree on who has custody, the court will approve it. If the mother and father are not able to agree, the court will decide on the custody schedule. The judge will look at the moral character of each parent and will also choose the parent who is more likely to encourage the child to develop a relationship with the other parent.
3. Input from the child. Section 10 allows the court to consider the preference of the child when making the custody and visitation schedule. The opinion of the child is heard, but it isn't controlling nor is it the only factor that affects the schedule. The preference of children age sixteen and over is given more weight, but again, it doesn't mean that the schedule will reflect exactly what the child wants.
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