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Utah Child Custody Factors

In Utah, the primary factors the court will consider when making a child custody and visitation award are:

(1) whether the physical, psychological, and emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from joint legal or physical custody;

(2) the ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest;

(3) 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;

(4) whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce;

(5) the geographical proximity of the homes of the parents;

(6) the preference of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to joint legal or physical custody;

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

(8) the past and present ability of the parents to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly;

(9) any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnaping; and (10) any other factors the court finds relevant. (Utah Code - Sections: 30-2-10, 30-3-5, 30-3-10)

In Utah, as with all other states, the court will always be looking out for the best interests of the children. What you want or your spouse wants is not really relevant until the court says it is. Many parents go to custody hearings not realizing that they must portray themselves as the best custodial parent rather pleading to the court that they simply deserve the children. The court would much prefer the parents to decide who should have custody, but if they canít, the court will do it for them. You can also read more about Utah child custody in the Utah state statutes located at: http://www.le.state.ut.us/.