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Child Custody Attorney

When two parents divorce or otherwise end a relationship, one of the most important matters to resolve is that of child custody. There are two parts to child custody arrangements: physical custody, which sets out with whom the children will live; and legal custody, which decides who can make important decisions regarding the child’s life.

Suppose you are facing a child custody case and wish to preserve your relationship with your child. In that case, you must seek assistance from an experienced family law attorney who understands the relevant Utah laws and family court procedures. A skilled Utah family law lawyer can also help you with matters concerning Utah child supportspousal support/Alimonyjuvenile defensedomestic violence, and anything else within the family law services.

Child Custody in Salt Lake City, UT

For many families in Salt Lake City, Utah, child custody is a difficult and delicate subject. Finding the ideal living situation for the children after a divorce or separation can be challenging. In these family law cases, the court must decide what is in the children’s best interest.

How Is Child Custody Decided In Utah?

The best way to decide on a custody arrangement is for the parents to collaborate and design a plan that works for all parties involved. This cooperative approach not only saves time and money but is also beneficial for the emotional well-being of the children. Suppose you decide on any type of joint custody arrangement. In that case, you will further need to submit a parenting plan for approval by the court that will help to set guidelines for sharing custody and methods of resolving disputes should they arise. If co-parenting is an option but you are having trouble agreeing on certain issues, child custody attorneys can advise you of certain options including mediation to help keep the matter out of the court’s hands.

If you cannot agree on a custody plan that serves the child’s best interests, the court will have to step in and make a custody determination for you. In such a situation, the court is required to examine many different factors related to the best interests of the child. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The morals and conduct of each parent;
  • The willingness of each parent to encourage and allow a continuing relationship with the other parent;
  • The nature of the existing relationship between the child and each parent;
  • The emotional, psychological, and physical needs of the child and each parent’s ability to meet those needs;
  • The geographical location of each parent;
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate in making decisions for the child;
  • Any emotional, psychological, or physical issues with either parent;
  • The child’s preference, if they are mature enough to understand the situation;
  • Any history or future risk of physical or emotional abuse; and
  • Any other factor deemed relevant by the courts.

Mediation & Child Custody Disputes

Your judge will likely send you to mediation to try and work out your disagreements. Participation is mandatory, and CoilLaw can help you prepare.

Mediation is a relatively new alternative dispute resolution technique. Utah has found some parents can quickly resolve disputes by working together with a mediator. Historically, a child custody dispute might linger for a year or more in the courts. With mediation, you might find common ground in a couple of months. That speeds up the divorce process and reduces stress on everyone, including your children.

In mediation, parents and their lawyers meet with a trained mediator. This is a professional who listens to each side explain the dispute. Sometimes sitting in a room and hearing your spouse explain why they are angry is eye-opening. The mediator can then help nudge each side toward compromise.

The mediator is not a judge, and this person does not decide who “wins” a custody fight. Instead, the mediator helps each parent listen to what each other is saying and tries to reach an agreement on custody issues.

Because the mediator is neutral, they might have suggestions for how parents can resolve disputes. For example, the mediator might recommend that the children alternate which parent they spend Christmas with. Parents can benefit from an experienced mediator’s perspective.

Mediation is sometimes useful for breaking through gridlock. Often, parents fight over child custody because they are emotionally upset about the divorce and not thinking clearly. A mediator can offer a fresh perspective.

You do not have to accept any proposal in mediation, and the mediator cannot require that you agree to something you don’t want to. Nonetheless, mediation will often winnow down the disagreements you have with your ex. The faster you can resolve a custody issue, the less expensive your divorce.

Why Should You Hire Coil Law?

Man watching as a woman walks out the doorVery few law firms in Utah provide the depth and breadth of experience in family law as CoilLaw. Our roster of lawyers brings unparalleled experience to each case we accept. Our diversity of experience and background helps us analyze cases from all angles and develop strategies that resonate with judges in Salt Lake City.

No one facing the prospect of a family law dispute should proceed without a lawyer. Any custody decree is difficult (if not impossible) to overturn once it is handed down. Although you have a right to appeal, your odds of success are slim. Unless the judge completely ignored facts or misinterpreted the law, a higher court won’t set aside the custody order. You get one chance to make your case.

Hire a seasoned family law attorney who can strategize on your behalf. We have handled all sorts of child custody disputes, and our family law attorneys even wrote one of the most downloaded divorce guides in Utah. Get your copy—and then call CoilLaw to schedule an individual, confidential consultation with our firm.

Child Custody Modification

Unsurprisingly, child custody disputes don’t always end once a judge hands down a decree. Instead, life changes, and, soon enough, many parents find themselves right back in court. One parent might even seek more overnights with their child, thus changing sole physical custody to joint custody.

Once established, child custody is tough to modify. Utah law makes it hard. The state does not want parents constantly coming into court fighting about child custody. Under the law, a judge will only consider modification if there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances. Further, a judge will only approve a proposed modification if it’s in a child’s best interests.

We can review whether you have solid grounds to seek modification. Some examples include a parent remarrying or moving to a new community. A change in the child’s educational needs can also qualify. For example, your child might benefit from a school that is located close to where you live.

Unfortunately, parents will have less success if they are mostly motivated by their convenience. Judges are much more interested in what’s best for the children. That’s the legal standard.

Contact CoilLaw to discuss when to request modification. We can begin compiling evidence in support of your petition to the court or even negotiate with the other parent’s lawyer. You can often make small tweaks to a parenting plan without judicial intervention where both parents agree.

Can Grandparents Request Visitation in Utah?

Parents talking to a therapistChildren benefit from continuing relationships with their grandparents. Unfortunately, grandparents in Utah do not have an automatic right to demand visitation with their grandchildren. Parents have a constitutional right to raise their children as they see fit. That means the parents could decide to cut the grandparents out of their children’s lives entirely and there’s little a grandparent can do. The law even instructs judges to presume whatever parents decide is in the best interests of the child.

Utah Code § 30-5-2 identifies the rights of grandparents, who can request visitation if they establish:

  1. The parents are unfit and cause harm to their grandchild, or
  2. They have served as custodian or caregivers to the child, like a parent, and the loss of this relationship will potentially harm the grandchild.

You will also need to show that visitation is in the best interest of your grandchildren. In particular, you should show how continuing contact will enhance your grandchild’s well-being, or how a grandchild 14 or older wants visitation.

Call CoilLaw to speak with one of our family attorneys. Visitation is a challenge to obtain when parents are determined to cut off contact, but we can provide a deeper analysis of your situation.

Enforcing Child Custody Orders

Emotions remain raw after many divorce cases. Unfortunately, parents might continue to use the children as pawns, and one technique is to deny visitation to “strike back” at the other parent. We have heard from many clients who bitterly complain that their ex immediately began to unfairly deny visitation.

Woman holding her phone and putting her hand on her foreheadDid your ex call up and claim your children are sick or that they don’t want to meet with you? Does your ex always schedule doctor’s or dental appointments when the children are supposed to be with you? These are strategies some parents use to deny visitation. Some parents will even “bad mouth” the other parent to the kids, with the hopes of turning them against you.

Contact our firm. One of our Salt Lake City child custody attorneys can seek enforcement of a child support order. We can bring this issue to the attention of the judge in your case. One option is to seek sanctions and a contempt citation. A judge could fine the other parent for intentionally violating the visitation order or take other action to coerce them into following the plan. In extreme custody cases, a judge might even revisit custody.

Contact us if you suspect the other parent is trying to keep your children from you. Our Utah family law attorneys will have advice on how to strengthen your claim. For example, you want to make sure you are willing and available to take possession of the children.  Even if your ex claims the children aren’t coming, you should still go to the “drop off” spot to show a judge you were available.

Call An Experienced Salt Lake City Child Custody Attorney For Assistance Today

If you are facing a child custody case or need help with a Salt Lake City child support agreement, you must have a family law lawyer on your side who knows how to effectively present your arguments regarding the preferred custody arrangement. Attorney Jill Coil of CoilLaw understands how stressful family law matters can be and will strive to protect your relationship with your child in the most efficient way possible. To ensure the protection of your future and your family call CoilLaw, an experienced Utah family law attorney today at 801-884-3775.


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