How Do I Get Sole Legal and Physical Custody of My Child in Utah? By Robert L. Froerer on November 22, 2023

A mother running alongside her daughter helping her ride a bike

The end of a marriage or relationship is difficult, especially when children are involved. Child custody should be decided in terms of what’s in the best interest of the children and sometimes that means custody should be solely given to one parent.

At Froerer & Miles, our family law attorneys are dedicated to helping parents obtain the best custody agreement for their child’s needs and best interests. If you need help obtaining full child custody, our Ogden, UT, and Layton, UT, attorneys are ready to assist you.

What Does Sole Legal and Physical Custody Mean?

There are two types of custody that must be decided in child custody agreements. These types are:

  • Legal custody: Legal custody refers to who has the right to make important decisions about the child or children, such as religious education, schooling, and medical decisions.
  • Physical custody: Physical custody refers to where the child or children primarily live.

Sole legal custody means only one parent holds the right to make important decisions about their child’s life. Sole physical custody means that the child primarily lives with one parent. In other words, sole legal and physical custody is when a child lives with one parent and that parent is able to make big decisions about the child without the other parent’s involvement.

It should be noted that non-custodial parents may be given court ordered parent-time to spend with their child or children even when sole custody is in place. Our attorneys in Ogden will help you determine which option is best for you.

How Is Sole Custody Decided?

When deciding custody matters, Utah courts take the child or children’s best interest into account. Generally, joint-custody is favored as best for children, but there are scenarios when sole legal and physical custody is deemed best. The court may choose sole legal and physical custody if:

  • There’s a history of domestic violence, neglect, or abuse of a child or other family member which would make it unsafe for the child to live with one of the parents
  • The parents live far apart
  • Moral and financial conduct of the parent is detrimental
  • The child or children are afraid or uncomfortable being around one parent
  • One parent is unfit for reasons such as substance abuse, showing a disinterest in parenting, a criminal record, severe mental illness, or a debilitating physical condition that prevents the parent from providing sufficient care

Any other relevant factors may also be considered by the courts in deciding whether a sole custody arrangement is best for a child or children.

Obtaining Full Child Custody

Parents who believe they should have sole or full custody of their children will need to file a petition with the courts asking for sole legal and physical custody and explain why sole custody is in their children’s best interest.

The court will also want evidence of claims of why a parent is unfit for joint custody. A child custody lawyer can help gather evidence and build a strong case to support the custody arrangement that is best for the children involved.

Contact Our Child Custody Attorneys

Child custody matters can be complicated, stressful, and emotionally taxing for everyone involved, including the children. Having a child custody attorney on your side can help you get the best outcomes for your child so that the healing process can begin. Contact our practice to schedule a consultation with one of our Ogden child custody attorneys to find out how we can help you and your family.

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