What Is Joint Custody?

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3 years ago

What is "joint custody"?

When it comes to family law, there are two kinds of custody: legal custody and physical custody. When we talk about "joint legal custody,"  we mean two parents who share the rights, privileges, duties, and powers of a parent. With joint legal custody, both parents have the right to make educational, medical, religious, etc. decisions for the child. When parents are negotiating their custody arrangements, they can agree beforehand that one parent has exclusive authority to make certain decisions. (For example, if one parent is a doctor and the other is a teacher, they could agree that the doctor make medical decisions and the teacher make educational decisions.)

Joint legal custody does not necessarily affect when parents have time with the child--it only relates to decision-making authority  for the child.

Physical custody relates to where the child lives. In Utah, joint physical means the child stays with each parent overnight for more than 30% of the year, and both parents contribute to the expenses of the child in addition to paying child support. One parent may continue to be the primary caretaker and maintain the primary residence of the child, but the other parent has the child at least 111 overnights during the year. Many parents choose to split the year as evenly as they can, but every family situation is different.

If you have any questions regarding joint legal or joint physical custody, please contact the Chris Wharton Law office at 801-649-3529 or email us!