8 Things to Consider When Divorcing with a Child in Utah

Henriksen LawDivorce

If you’re getting a divorce and you have kids, their well-being is probably at the top of your mind. The primary goal of any child custody discussion should be to figure out what’s best for them.

As you go through this with your Utah divorce attorney, you’ll face a mix of legal and emotional challenges that need careful thought and a sensitive approach. Hence, it’s important to stay open and clear-headed. Here’s a list of important considerations to keep in mind to make the process a little smoother for everyone involved.

Understanding Custody Laws in Utah 

Utah’s custody laws are all about what’s best for the kids. You can either share custody with your ex, meaning both of you stay actively involved in your child’s life, or one of you can have sole custody, where only one parent gets to make the big decisions and the child lives primarily with them. 

Note that the state encourages parents to work together to create a parenting plan that’s good for the child and keeps things stable. Getting to know Utah divorce laws well can help you know what to expect and aim for in your custody setup. 

Accounting for Your Child’s Age 

Divorce affects kids differently depending on how old they are. No matter their age, it’s going to impact them in some way- and you must help them cope with the changes. 

Babies and toddlers might not understand what’s happening, but they do sense when something’s up. They need lots of love and reassurance that both mom and dad are still there for them, even if not always together. 

School-aged kids and teens understand what divorce is but don’t need the messy details. You can keep them out of the middle to avoid making them feel like they have to pick a side. 

Preteens can be particularly sensitive to divorce, so be ready to offer them extra support during this time. 

When setting up parenting schedules, think about what’s best for each child’s age. A routine that fits a teenager might not be right for a toddler. If your kids are years apart, they might even need different schedules to meet their specific needs. 

Creating a Parenting Plan 

Put simply, a parenting plan outlines how you and your ex will manage taking care of your kids. It covers things like where your kids will live, when they’ll visit each parent, how you’ll handle holidays, and decisions about things like school and doctor visits. 

The more detailed your plan, the better- it helps stop fights before they start and makes sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to do. 

A solid plan can make your kids feel more secure during all the changes. Plus, it keeps both parents on the same page, which makes life smoother for everyone involved. So, taking the time to nail down these details can pay off in the long run. 

Dealing with Child Support 

For divorce cases in Utah, both parents must chip in financially for their kids. How much each parent pays in child support depends on how much money they make, how many children they have, and what the custody arrangement looks like. Knowing how child support is calculated here can help you plan your finances better and keep you from getting any surprises later. 

Considering Each Parent-Child Relationship 

The kind of relationship your kids have with each parent should guide how you set up child custody in Utah. If your kids are tight with both mom and dad, aim for shared custody so they can keep up those strong connections. If they haven’t spent much one-on-one time with one parent, start slow. A step-up plan where visits gradually increase can help them get more comfortable. 

However, in case there’s any concern about a child’s safety with a parent, you need to take it seriously. Ask the court for measures like supervised visits to protect your child. Always prioritize their safety and well-being in any arrangement you consider. It’s all about making sure your kids feel safe and loved, no matter how the custody splits. 

Prioritizing Your Child’s Well-Being 

It’s important to keep your child’s emotional and physical health front and center during the whole divorce process. Try to keep them away from any arguments and make sure their daily routine stays stable. Also, consider speaking positively about the other parent to help your child adjust to the new family setup. 

Keeping things as normal as possible lets your child feel secure. Regular check-ins to see how they’re feeling can also do wonders. Remember, a supportive and calm environment during these changing times can enable your child to navigate the situation better. 

Settling Out of Court 

Settling out of court means you and the other parent work out a compromise on your own, instead of having a judge make decisions for you. This approach saves time, money, and lets you keep control over parenting decisions. Try to agree on as many things as you can and put those agreements into a divorce settlement that includes a parenting plan. 

You can settle before you even step into a courtroom or even while the divorce process in Utah is ongoing. You both can sit down to hammer out a parenting plan together or use methods like mediation for help. Most states push for mediation because it encourages parents to work things out themselves. 

Although it’s common to handle divorce and child custody together, you can choose to just settle the custody part and let the judge decide on other aspects of the divorce. This way, you focus on creating the best situation for your kids right from the start. 

Keeping the Focus on the Future 

You might feel bogged down in the immediate mess and stress of a divorce. But don’t forget to think about the future. Make sure you’re planning for your child’s education, their hobbies, and even college down the line. Chat with your ex about these big-picture things to make sure your kid’s future doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of the divorce. 

By focusing on what’s ahead, you can make decisions that are truly best for your child in the long run. Plus, it helps you and your ex stay aligned on the most important thing—your child’s success and happiness. 

The Bottom Line 

Divorcing with a child is a big challenge. However, keeping these key considerations in mind can make the process smoother and more constructive for everyone involved. So, take the time to carefully consider each aspect, and seek professional advice when needed. 

At Henriksen & Henriksen, we understand the nuances of Utah’s family law and are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your family. 

Don’t go through this alone. Contact our experienced Utah divorce attorney to learn more about how we can support you.