This video by associate attorney Stacy Roberts explains the different Utah child custody types.

You will learn the difference between Physical Custody and Legal Custody,  Sole Custody vs Joint Custody, and what the court looks at when making child custody decisions.


Hi my name is the Stacy Roberts and I am an attorney here at Long Okura.

If you’re going through a divorce proceeding or any proceeding where children are involved there’s a few things you should know about child custody.

First of all there are two different types of custody that can be awarded in your case.  There is Physical Custody and Legal Custody.

Physical Custody is where the children spend the night. If you are awarded sole physical custody it means the children are with you for the majority of the overnights in one year.  It means you have two-thirds of those overnights.

If joint physical custody is awarded it means the parents are splitting these overnights and they’re with each parent equally or the parents have at least one hundred and eleven overnights each year.

There is also legal custody and this regards who makes the major decisions in a child’s life regarding religion, education, residence and any major health issues.

Sole legal custody means that one parent is making these decisions but they’re communicating these decisions to the other parent.

Joint legal custody means the parents cooperate and decide together in any of these majors decisions for a child. In your decree or any final document there should be how these final decisions will be made if there is any disagreement, whether you’re going to go to mediation to decide or if one parent is going to be the default decision maker.

When a court is making the decision on these custody matters they look at several different factors in a child’s life.

The most important is what is in the child’s best interests.

They also look at:

  • Who has been the historical primary caregiver for the child.
  • Any current arrangements or status quo that has been reached in the case.
  • If there are siblings involved, if special bonds have been created with the parent.
  • What are the the moral character and emotional stability of each parent.
  • The situational stability of a parent.
  • Also how much time does the parent have available to spend with the child.

Any significant impairments of a parent may also be taking into consideration, but disability is not a factor when the court is deciding.

If any parents has relinquished custody or has not been involved in the child’s life the court will also take this into consideration.

In summary there are two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. There is also various factors that the court will take into consideration in awarding these different types of custody.

If you have any questions please contact Long Okura and setup an appointment with an attorney so we can tell you which factors maybe most important in your case.