Basics of Child Custody

Basics of Child Custody

Few divorce decisions are as emotionally fraught as those involving custody of minor children. Divorcing spouses who agree on other issues can quickly reach an impasse where children are involved.

Too often, protracted custody battles are thinly disguised attempts to manipulate support obligations , deny equal parental rights, or alienate a child from a non-custodial parent.

While you and your spouse can make custody agreements and visitation arrangements on your own, litigated custody disputes turn those decisions over to a judge who does not know your family. As one of the best family law firm in Utah, our practice daily handles tough custody cases for clients from all walks of life. These parents retain us to fight for the best interests of their children—and for their future. You should make sure you get a child custody lawyer to help you whenever you have an issue like this come up.

Two questions to be addressed concern legal and physical custody, defined as follows:

  • Legal custody is the right to make or be involved in major decisions concerning your child on matters of health, education, and welfare
  • Physical custody is the right for a child to reside with you and receive your physical care

Along with recommendations from the law guardian for your child, a judge will review best interest factors to make a physical custody decision that may look like one of the following:

  • Sole custody with one custodial parent, and one parent receiving visitation rights
  • Joint physical custody where a child resides with both parents—not necessarily for equal periods of time

Childhood is brief, but its scars can last a lifetime. If you have custody issues, retain a skilled attorney and fight for your child while you can still make a difference.

How Does Remarriage Affect Older Children?

Many people expect there to be some growing pains when getting remarried with minor children in the picture. However, many of these same transitional and emotional issues can also be a factor if you or your spouse have any older children.

While older children are going to be better able to emotionally process the transition, they are still human and still could very well have complicated feelings about the marriage. You should be prepared to notice and address any of the following issues:

  • Strong loyalty to their “original” family: Your adult children will want to maintain a strong family identity. This means it can be difficult to immediately accept a new stepparent and everything that comes with it, including uprooting long-established family traditions, celebrations and holidays.
  • Feelings of homesickness: While your adult children no longer live at home with you, there is still something that might be lost to them in the transition, beyond your relationship. To them, going home might no longer feel like they’re actually at home, and that can be difficult to process at first. They will miss the feelings of the home they knew as children, with both of their parents living in it together.
  • Difficulty managing time with grandchildren: You might find that your children harbor some feelings of resentment that their children, your grandchildren, will suddenly have to welcome a new face into their life, or that time has to be split even more broadly among grandparents.
  • Jealousy: Even adult children are susceptible to feeling jealous, or as though they’ve been “replaced” by a new spouse. Suddenly a new stepparent comes in and has captured your heart and energy — it’s natural for them to feel jealous.

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

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Divorce Attorney Orem UT

Divorce Attorney Orem UT

Divorce is no laughing matter. But over the years, divorce lawyers have seen many television comedies that center around this sensitive topic, including “Reba”, “Cougar Town”, “The New Adventures of Christine”. But a new HBO comedy is now taking divorce to a new direction. The show, appropriately named “Divorce”, stars Sarah Jessica Parker and is being hyped as a comedy. But if you have watched the show, there is hardly anything funny. However, that does not mean Divorce is a bad show. It does manage to effectively capture the hurtful, spiteful and painful emotions countless couples in Salt Lake City go through on a regular basis.


What makes divorce a powerful show is its ability to reach people who have or have not gone through divorce. Parker portrays Frances, a scatterbrained woman who is involved in an unhappy marriage and begins to evaluate her life. Like many people who have gone through divorce, Frances quickly discovers that making a clean break is not always easy. Parker’s character is a woman who has fallen out of love with her husband Robert, played by actor Thomas Haden Church. She decides to have an affair with a man, who lacks any semblance of intellect. But at the same time, she has not taken any steps to end her marriage. She then changes her mind after her friend Diane, played by Molly Shannon, decides to pull out a gun during her 50th birthday party. From that point, Frances begins the long process of painful moments that many divorced people experience.

The show Divorce has plenty of awkward moments. At times, they can seem funny–especially to those who have never experienced divorce at any level. But make no mistake, this is not a comedy. Instead, When watching divorce for the first time, many viewers may begin to get the impression Frances is an extension of Carrie Bradshaw, the character played by Parker in the longtime HBO series “Sex in the City”. However, Parker has repeatedly insisted Frances is distinct from any character she has ever portrayed.


Whether you are going through a divorce in Salt Lake City or have already been through the process, the television show can sometimes be a bitter reminder. Frances and Robert have two teenage children, Lila and Tom. Like children of divorce in real life, they also find themselves caught in the middle of their parent’s bitter breakup. The truth is divorce does not just affect the couple. It has ramifications on just about every meaningful person in their life–whether it is your family, friends or business associates.

Many people watch television and movies to escape from real life problems. But there are times when art truly does imitate life. Divorce is one of those shows that entertains and yet makes us realize the seriousness, pain and anguish countless couples face. If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Salt Lake City, schedule a consultation with an experienced family attorney that can effectively help evaluate your situation and explain your legal options.


It may be helpful to understand a little about divorce and the typical effects it has on men and women. The divorce rate in the United States is the highest in the world. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Sixty-seven percent of all second marriages end in divorce. As high as these figures are, what is also true is that the divorce rate appears to be dropping. The reasons for this change are not clear. Many people cannot afford to divorce, many people cannot afford to marry. Another reason is that “baby boomers,” who account for a large proportion of our population are no longer in their 20s and 30s, the ages when divorce is most prevalent. The societal expectation is that divorced life is less satisfying than married life. Divorce is associated with an increase in depression–people experience loss of partner, hopes and dreams, and lifestyle. The financial reality of divorce is often hard to comprehend: the same resources must now support almost twice the expenses. Fifty percent of all children are children of divorce. Twenty-eight percent of all children are born of never married parents. Divorce is expensive. Aid for Dependent Children (AFDC) resources are drained by the needs of divorced and single parent families; including the cost of collecting child support.



  1. Women initiate divorce twice as often as men
  2. 90% of divorced mothers have custody of their children (even if they did not receive it in court)
  3. 60% of people under poverty guidelines are divorced women and children
  4. Single mothers support up to four children on an average after-tax annual income of $12,200
  5. 65% divorced mothers receive no child support (figure based on all children who could be eligible, including never-married parents, when fathers have custody, and parents without court orders); 75% receive court-ordered child support (and rising since inception of uniform child support guidelines, mandatory garnishment and license renewal suspension)
  6. After divorce, women experience less stress and better adjustment in general than do men. The reasons for this are that (1) women are more likely to notice marital problems and to feel relief when such problems end, (2) women are more likely than men to rely on social support systems and help from others, and (3) women are more likely to experience an increase in self-esteem when they divorce and add new roles to their lives.
  7. Women who work and place their children in child care experience a greater stigma than men in the same position. Men in the same position often attract support and compassion.


  1. Men are usually confronted with greater emotional adjustment problems than women. The reasons for this are related to the loss of intimacy, the loss of social connection, reduced finances, and the common interruption of the parental role.
  2. Men remarry more quickly than women.
  3. As compared to “deadbeat dads,” men who have shared parenting (joint legal custody), ample time with their children, and an understanding of and direct responsibility for activities and expenses of children stay involved in their children’s lives and are in greater compliance with child support obligations. There is also a greater satisfaction withchild support amount when negotiated in mediation. Budgets are prepared, and responsibility divided in a way that parents understand.
  4. Men are initially more negative about divorce than women and devote more energy in attempting to salvage the marriage.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Divorce Lawyer Orem UT

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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