Divorce is one of the hardest things that anyone can go through. It is a time of heartache, disappointment, and despair. Although it is perfectly natural to harbor such feelings, you cannot allow them to distract you from one of the most important aims in your divorce: the preservation of your material and parental rights.
Getting a Divorce in Utah
Utah is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a couple can dissolve their marriage if they agree to do so. To divorce in Utah, you and your spouse must have lived in the state for 3 months—6 months if you have children. You must also agree on all issues on your divorce, which must include a written and notarized document that details the arrangements concerning spousal support, child support, and child custody.
You should hire a divorce lawyer to take you through this process. A non-contested divorce is the simplest and least expensive way to dissolve your marriage. However, you must protect yourself from unfair treatment in the settlement.
The money and property that accumulated during the marriage will be divided between you and your spouse. It is essential that the finances of the estate are made transparent. A divorce lawyer will ensure that every penny in your bank account and all the property you own jointly will be accounted for during the division of the estate.
If you have children, your lawyer will do what is necessary to protect your parental rights.
Legal and Physical Child Custody
Sorting out child custody can be a highly charged and emotional affair. You may have serious concerns about your ability to see or continue to care for and support your child. There is a difference between legal and physical custody. In the state of Utah, both parents can be granted legal custody of a child. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child primarily lives. But this parent cannot make significant decisions regarding the life of the child without the assent of the other parent. If you are the non-custodial parent, you still retain the right to decide or help decide, for example, the kind of health care treatment your child will receive or the school they will attend.
Parental Rights in Utah
Father’s rights and mother’s rights are equal in the state of Utah. The divorce will change the material status of your life, but it need not stop you from being a parent. Laws in Utah give each parent the chance to be at the center of their child’s life. It also ensures that custodial arrangements are made in the best interest of the child.
If you were a stay-at-home mom or dad, it may take you some time to establish or re-establish yourself in the business world. Courts recognize this needed period of adjustment and will ensure that the spouse that was the primary breadwinner in the family provides support for you and your child until you get on your feet.
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you fear losing joint or legal custody of your child because your ex was the primary breadwinner and you are having trouble finding a job, affordable housing, and adequate health care, you should hire a lawyer who specializes in child custody issues. You need not lose custody of your child because of reduced circumstances. Alimony and child support payments are part of the divorce settlement. Your lawyer will have the law on their side as they negotiate with the legal counsel of the other party to reach an agreement that will help you raise your child in a safe and reasonably comfortable environment.
As the years pass, you and your ex will meet new people and may eventually remarry. The individuals you marry may have children of their own. This will complicate things. However, it does not change your right to be a parent to your child. New relationships develop, but parental rights remain the same.
Good will from you and your ex will allow both of you to adjust to the new realities of your respective family lives. You may make a verbal agreement to change the terms of the child custody agreement—especially the visitation schedule. This happens all the time. However, you should get the agreed changes in writing. And you will need the aid and insight of your lawyer to modify the child custody settlement. This will help protect you against a charge of violating the agreement.
Contact a Skilled Family Law Attorney About Child Custody and Visitation in Ogden
Child custody and parental rights are a complex area of law which requires both the skill and sensitivity that the attorneys at our Ogden family law firm possess. Contact us today at the Kaufman, Nichols & Kaufman to discuss your case.