• Utah County is located 44 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah.
• The name “Utah” comes from the Native American “Ute” tribe and means ‘people of the mountains’.
• Utah County is the second largest county, in terms of population, in the state of Utah. The population is 622,213* residents.
• Population density of 234.1 people per square mile.
• The county seat is the city of Provo.
• The elevation in the valley ranges between 4,480 – 4,700 feet above sea level. The highest point is Mt. Nebo at 11,928 ft. and the lowest point is at the Jordan River Flood Plain at 4,480 ft.
• The county is 2,142 square miles, 2.45% of the State of Utah and 16th largest in area in the state.
• The average winter temperatures are a maximum of 37 degrees and a minimum of 14 degrees.
• The average summertime temperatures are a maximum of 92 degrees and a minimum of 54 degrees.
• Utah County is a county in the U.S. state of Utah. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 516,564, thus making it Utah’s second-most populous county. The county seat and largest city is Provo, which is the state’s third-largest city.
• Utah County is part of the Provo-Orem, UT Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, UT Combined Statistical Area.
• In 2010, the center of population of Utah was in Utah County, in the city of Saratoga Springs.
• Utah County is one of seven counties in the United States to have the same name as its state.
• The legislature of the State of Deseret created a county on January 31, 1850, to govern the civic affairs of Utah Valley, which by the 1850s was bustling with newly arrived settlers. The county name derived from the valley name, which derived from the Spanish name (Yuta) for the Ute Indians. The State of Deseret was dissolved soon after (April 5, 1851), but the counties it had set in place continued in existence. There is little record of any official activity conducted by the fledgling county until April 18, 1852, when a full slate of county officials was published and recordkeeping began. The first courthouse was built in central Provo in 1866-67. It was soon outgrown, and was replaced by a second courthouse (1872–73). By the 1920s this building was also cramped, and the decision was made to erect a combined city-county building, which was completed in 1926.
• The county’s boundaries were adjusted in 1852, 1854, 1856, 1862, 1880, and 1884. It has retained its present boundary since 1884.
Utah Child Custody Laws
When a couple with children breaks up, the responsibility to care for the children must be shared by both parents. An important aspect is child custody or with whom the child will live with and what visitation with the other parent will be like. Another part of this responsibility is financial support, in the form of child support.
Best Interest of the Child
Utah family courts, like those in most states, determine child custody matters using the “best interests of the child.” The factors considered by the judge include:
• Past conduct and demonstrated moral standards of the parties
• Parent most likely to act in the best interest of the child, including allowing child frequent contact with non-custodial parent
• Bonding between each parent and the child
• If a parent has intentionally exposed the child to pornography or other harmful sexual-related materials
• Physical, psychological, and emotional needs of the child
• Both parent’s ability to reach shared decisions for the child and prioritize the child’s welfare
• If both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce
• The geographic proximity of the parents’ homes
• The child’s preferences
• Parents ability to protect child from their conflict
• Past and present ability to cooperate with each other in parenting and making decisions
• Any history of child abuse, domestic violence, or kidnapping
• Any other relevant factors
When parents can’t develop their own parenting schedule, the court can establish an appropriate schedule more or less than the statutory minimum parent-time based on the following best interest of the child factors:
• How parent-time would negative impact child’s physical health and emotional development
• Distance between child’s home and the non-custodial parent’s home
• Allegations of child abuse
• Lack of demonstrated parenting skills when there’s no safeguards to ensure child’s safety
• Financial inability of non-custodial parent to provide food and shelter during parent-time
• Child’s preference, if sufficiently mature
• Parent’s incarceration
• Shared interests of the child and non-custodial parent
• Non-custodial parent’s involvement in the child’s school, community, religious, or other related activities
• Non-custodial parent’s availability to care for the child when the custodial parent is working or has other obligations
• Chronic pattern of missing, canceling or denying regularly scheduled parenting time
• Parent-time schedule of siblings
• Lack of reasonable alternatives for nursing child
• Any other criteria the court feels is relevant to the best interests of the child
Uniform Child Custody Act: The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was enacted in Utah in 2000. This Act superseded the previously adopted version, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA).
Joint Custody: In Utah, parents can have joint custody, including joint physical custody (where the child lives) and joint legal custody (who can make life, medical, educational, etc. decisions for a child).
Grandparent Visitation: Grandparents can get visitation rights to see their grandchildren. Additionally, a grandparent or any other adult relative by marriage or blood who raised a child could get custody or visitation of the child, if it’s found to be in the child’s best interests.
Child’s Wishes: A child’s wishes are considered by the court when the judge feels the child is sufficiently mature and has the capacity to reason to form an intelligent preference.
If you need to create or modify a parenting plan in a Utah court, than you should speak with an experienced local child custody lawyer about your options.
What Does it Cost to File for Custody in Utah?
The filing fee for a child custody case in Utah is $360. There are also costs associated with service. See, once you file your initial custody documents with the Court, you have to have someone serve your soon-to-be ex with those documents. The Utah Rules of Civil Procedure specify you can’t do that personally (too much room for monkey business), so you should have a professional process server do it. That might be a constable with the sheriff’s office, or a company that serves these sorts of documents regularly. Either way, the cost will likely range from $15 to $30. All told, the cost to file and serve a custody case averages around $400.
Reasons Parents Lose Custody Of Their Children
Although most laws are designed to help divorced parents maintain a healthy relationship with their children, there are times when some issues may disqualify divorcees from having legal custody of their kids. Most of these cases involve allegations related to child abuse or neglect. However, some allegations could be false statements from a contentious former spouse. If you are dealing with a child custody matter is best you contact a child custody attorney to discuss your legal options.
The process generally starts with one of the parents notifying the court about his or her concern involving a former spouse or parent of the children. Evidence must be provided otherwise the allegations of abuse are not valid. If the judge determines the behavior is a threat to the child’s safety, an investigation will take place. An investigator may take a look at the circumstances surrounding the allegations and decide whether or not the allegations are true.
This is a common reason why some parents may lose the custody of their children. The court will see if there is a history of child abuse. Some factors that help the judge determine if there was child abuse include scars, bruises, marks, and cuts. Whether it was initiated by anger or inappropriate behavior, child abuse will definitely cause the parents lose custody of their children. If you suspect your former spouse has abused your child, notify the police and contact child custody attorney.
There are cases that don’t involve child abuse yet if the child witnessed child abuse against the other parent during the last 5 years; the court may deny sole child custody. A history of abuse will be considered when making custody decisions. Granting custody to an abusive parent is not in the child’s best interest.
Drug And Alcohol Abuse
Courts will also take a look at other factors such as the use of controlled substances. The habitual use of drugs or alcohol by either parent is detrimental to the interests and safety of the kids, therefore, the parent addicted to these substances can’t be trusted with raising the children.
Violating A Court Order
Parents should respect custody orders. Doing otherwise may result in a parent losing custody. Although it’s all based on how the order was written, violating the order doesn’t help advance the case. Some cases involving joint custody, for example, require both parents making important decisions about the child. If one of the parents fails to consult the other parent before making an important decision, the custody order could be modified and the parent may lose custody.
Parental Alienation and Co-Parenting
When one of the parents is manipulative and he or she uses these tactics to alienate the children from his or her former spouse, there is a chance he or she will lose the custody. Co-parenting is sometimes the best option in some scenarios as it allows parents that can’t get along to follow a strict joint custody schedule.
Types of custody orders
There are two kinds of child custody:
• Legal custody, which means who makes important decisions for your children (like health care, education, and welfare), and
• Physical custody, which means who your children live with.
Legal custody can be:
• Joint, where both parents share the right and responsibility to make the important decisions about the health, education, and welfare of the children.
• Sole, where only 1 parent has the right and responsibility to make the important decisions about the health, education, and welfare of the children.
Parents with legal custody make decisions or choices about their children’s:
• School or child care
• Religious activities or institutions
• Psychiatric, psychological, or other mental health counseling or therapy needs
• Doctor, dentist, orthodontist, or other health professional (except in emergency situations)
• Sports, summer camp, vacation, or extracurricular activities
• Residence (where the children will live)
Parents who share legal custody both have the right to make decisions about these aspects of their children’s lives, but they do not have to agree on every decision. Either parent can make a decision alone. But to avoid having problems and ending up back in court, both parents should communicate with each other and cooperate in making decisions together.
Physical custody can be:
• Joint, which means that the children live with both parents.
• Sole or primary, which means the children live with 1 parent most of the time and usually visit the other parent.
Joint physical custody does not mean that the children must spend exactly half the time with each parent. Usually the children spend a little more time with 1 parent than the other because it is too hard to split the time exactly in half. When 1 parent has the children more than half of the time, then that parent is sometimes called the “primary custodial parent.” Sometimes, a judge gives parents joint legal custody, but not joint physical custody. This means that both parents share the responsibility for making important decisions in the children’s lives, but the children live with 1 parent most of the time. The parent who does not have physical custody usually has visitation with the children.
Types of visitation orders
Visitation (also called “time-share”) is the plan for how the parents will share time with the children. A parent who has the children less than half of the time has visitation with the children. Visitation orders are varied, depending on the best interests of the children, the situation of the parents, and other factors. In general, visitation can be:
• Visitation according to a schedule: Generally, it helps the parents and children to have detailed visitation plans to prevent conflicts and confusion, so parents and courts often come up with a visitation schedule detailing the dates and times that the children will be with each parent. Visitation schedules can include holidays, special occasions (like birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day, and other important dates for the family), and vacations.
• Reasonable visitation: A reasonable visitation order does not necessarily have details as to when the children will be with each parent. Usually, these orders are open-ended and allow the parents to work it out between them. This type of visitation plan can work if parents get along very well and can be flexible and communicate well with one another. But if there are ever disagreements or misunderstandings, this kind of an open schedule can cause issues between the parents, and the children may suffer as a result.
• Supervised visitation: This is used when the children’s safety and well-being require that visits with the other parent be supervised by you, another adult, or a professional agency. Click for more information on supervised visitation. Supervised visitation is sometimes also used in cases where a child and a parent need time to become more familiar with each other, like if a parent has not seen the child in a long time and they need to slowly get to know each other again.
• No visitation: This option is used when visiting with the parent, even with supervision, would be physically or emotionally harmful to the children. In these cases, it is not in the best interest of the children for the parent to have any contact with the children.
The law on deciding custody and visitation
The law says that judges must give custody according to what is in the “best interest of the child.” To decide what is best for a child, the court will consider:
• The age of the child,
• The health of the child,
• The emotional ties between the parents and the child,
• The ability of the parents to care for the child,
• Any history of family violence or substance abuse, and
• The child’s ties to school, home, and his or her community.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506