So, I met with a new client this morning about their custody case.  I love meeting with new clients and helping them through the maze of divorce, child custody. and asset division.  As an attorney, it’s one thing that I do where I feel like I truly help people.

You’ve had that feeling before, right?  Where you help someone?  You feel good?

That’s one of the main reasons I do divorce and custody work.

I want to help you.

So, here I am in this consultation this morning.

Very nice lady I’m meeting with.

And she says she wants sole legal custody.

I ask:  Why do you want sole legal and not joint legal custody?

….. crickets …..

She had heard that was what she should ask for.

I went into detail what Legal Custody is and means.

Legal Custody in Divorce and Child Custody cases covers 3 things:

1 – ability to make educational decisions for your child.

2 – ability to make medical decisions for your child.

3 – ability to make religions decisions for your child.

Please note that this is not physical custody.  Physical custody is literally where the child sleeps at night.

It is very possible for one parent to have sole physical custody and for both parents to have joint physical custody.

Now – I know that some people really do not want their ex-spouse to be able to make these types of decisions with them for their child.  Perhaps their ex-spouse was abusive; rude; or obnoxious.  Perhaps the ex-spouse lacks good critical thinking skills or common sense.

However, in Utah, it is presumed that the parties to a divorce or custody case should have joint legal custody of their minor children.

That presumption can be overcome.

You should also know that if your ex-spouse is difficult or impossible to deal with.  Then you will surely want to get sole legal custody of your kids.  Because the moment an educational decision needs to be made – BOOM! – there will be trouble.  Then you’ll have to go to mediation or court and fight it out.

The best thing in divorce and custody cases is when the parties can be kind to each other — it does happen sometimes, but doesn’t happen all of the time.

You know your specific situation.

You know whether there will be a fight out religion or a medical decision like braces comes about.  You really don’t want to fight about it all of the time.

Eventually, all children grow up and get older.  Your kids will see how you act towards your ex-spouse.  Hopefully it will be good.  If you know fighting is around the corner because your ex still wants to control you or control the family, etc.  Then you need to take precautions now and ensure that you ask for sole legal custody rather than joint.

If you’re not sure what to do, talk it out with your divorce lawyer in Utah.

Your divorce attorney will be able to help you determine whether to ask for joint legal or sole legal custody for you in your specific circumstances.

Do you have other questions or concerns about divorce or family law in Utah?

Give us a call for a free consultation:


Enjoy your day and thanks for reading!

Utah Divorce Lawyer

Utah Divorce Lawyer

Mike Anderson JD


P.S. – If you want to read up on the statute, take a look at Utah Code 30-3-10.1 for the definitions of joint legal custody and joint physical custody.  You might be surprised what you discover.

TL;DR – joint legal custody in Utah is different than joint physical custody; make sure you know what you want in your divorce or custody case.

Watch this video for more information: