The court will often consider children’s preferences when assigning custody and visitation. However, that is not the same as simply asking the child where they want to live or how much time they want to spend with dad or mom.
The older a child gets, the more weight a judge is likely to put on their preferences. That’s because their wishes are more likely to be based on solid reasons instead of whose home has better toys or who gives them a later bedtime.
Signed in 2012, House Bill 88 prevents courts from discriminating against a parent based on gender. The child’s best interests must guide decisions on custody, child support, and other parenting concerns.
Among other factors, the court looks at each parent’s relationship with the child. A stay-at-home dad who handles most of the daily child-rearing will be treated the same as a stay-at-home mom. A mother whose work means she doesn’t have a solid daily presence in the children’s lives will be given the same consideration as a busy working father.
Utah requires divorcing spouses to attend at least one mediation session. Often, that is enough to get the parties involved compromising.
If you are dealing with a toxic partner, they may refuse to be reasonable or compromise. However, because settling through mediation gives them more control over the outcomes and keeps their costs down, your Ex might surprise you, even if they have generally been difficult during the process.
Mediation and arbitration both present options for avoiding protracted, expensive court battles. It doesn’t work in all cases, but many divorces are settled relatively quickly and without extended conflict.
Child support is not an entry fee for time with the child. If your Ex misses a child support payment, you can address that via the court system, but you cannot deny them visitation as outlined in your custody agreement.
If you attempt to block visitation, you could face legal consequences, up to and including being found in contempt of court.
If you cannot or think the custody plan needs to be changed, consult a custody lawyer before deviating from the custody plan. If your Ex isn’t paying child support, your lawyer can also help with that. But you don’t have the power to withhold visitation because they aren’t following the agreement.
Utah is an equitable distribution state. That means that the court strives to divide assets in a fair but not necessarily equal way. This takes into account income differences, future earning potential, health conditions, and more.
Additionally, one or both spouses may have assets that are excluded from the divorce settlement. This can be a complicated issue, so it’s best if you consult your attorney. For a general idea of what assets are excluded, refer to the full article.