Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

What terms can be included in a joint custody order?

Salt Lake City residents often put in long hours and hard work to succeed in their career. Yet many consider the most difficult job of all to be that of a parent. While raising a child can be rewarding and meaningful, it also involves making difficult decisions as to how the child should be raised.

These already difficult decisions can become even more challenging when they become the subject of a child custody dispute. As discussed last week in this blog, it is a frequent occurrence where one parent wishes to resolve a decision in a certain manner, while the other parent disagrees with that decision. For instance, parents can disagree over what religion the child should be raised in, what course of action to take when health care issues arise and other sensitive matters.

In light of these various child custody disputes that can arise, it is important to have a proper custody order entered by the court. Under Utah law, there are certain terms that are appropriate to include in a joint custody order. For example, the court may specify that the parents are to exchange information regarding the health, education and welfare of the child. The court can also order the parties to confer before making decisions in these areas.

The court order can also include provisions specifying the rights and duties of the parents concerning the child's care, support and education. Moreover, the court can go further by including provisions to limit disruption of the child's life, including disruptions in the child's school activities, daily routine or even his or her association with friends.

Ultimately, the court's order can detail the parent's custodial rights and powers. While disputes can still arise after an order is entered, the specific provisions discussed above can help minimize the potential for disputes.

Source: Utah State Legislature, "Terms of joint legal or physical custody order," accessed on Sept. 3, 2016

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