Services We Provide in Custody Cases

Uncontested Custody Agreements and Parenting Plans
Contested Custody Proceedings
Parenting Plans
Parent Time Disputes
Mediation Representation
Paternity and Divorce Disputes

Perhaps no legal proceeding is more important to clients than Custody disputes.  Whether you are facing divorce, modification, a paternity dispute or
any other custody and parent time dispute, we are equipped to help you
navigate this important fight and help you reach a resolution.  We assist in
contested and uncontested custody disputes.  We can help you through
custody evaluations and custody consultations to ensure your rights are
maximized and the desired result is achieved.

Jensen Legal Services is dedicated to ensuring you understand the law and
procedures related to custody and parent time in Utah.  The information on this
page will give you general information.  It is important to review your case and
circumstances with us so we can advise you directly after listening to your
concerns and understanding your unique situation.  


Child Custody is the legal determination of who will be the primary caretaker &
who will exercise parent-time (visitation). Decisions regarding custody and
parent time should primarily revolve around the best interest of the children and
revolve secondarily around the schedules and availability of the parties. The
person who has previously acted as the primary caretaker is likely to continue in
that role.  In most cases, parental care trumps surrogate care when the primary
custodian is not available. The courts determine custody using a "best interest
of the child" standard.  The determination of custody ultimately affects the
amount of child support, the primary residence of the child(ren) and the
applicable school district. The common types of custody include:

Sole Physical Custody – The child(ren) live with one designated parent who has
complete rights and obligations to care for the child. The other parent is
referred to as the "non-custodial parent" and is entitled to minimum parent time
or visitation with the minor child(ren) under Utah Statute.

Sole Legal Custody – Only one parent has the right to make decisions for the
child(ren), including medical treatment. This is rarely used and limits the non-
custodial parents rights in regards to decision making for the child.

Joint Physical Custody – Parents share the child as equally as possible and
agree to raise the child in a manner that is shared and possibly equal.  The
parent time division may be 50/50 but could also be 60/40 or 70/30. This
arrangement works best when both parents live close together, usually within
the same school district.  An alternative option is Sole Physical Custody with
extended  parent time to the non-custodial parent.

Joint Legal Custody – allows both parents to make decisions for the child while
in their custody and during parenting time. Both parties share the parental
rights, privileges, duties and powers.  The court may designate one parent as
the primary caretaker and one household may be designated for physical
custody. (Used frequently and recommended in most situations. Subject to joint
parenting plan.)

Parent-Time – Referred to as "visitation" in the past.  Parent-time ensures the
child(ren) have access to both parents regardless of the designation of
custody.  Utah provides a minimum parent time and holiday sharing schedule
including time during summer or off-track time.  

Parenting Plans – Utah law requires a parenting plan in any joint custody
arrangement including joint legal.  The parenting plan provides detailed
instructions on sharing and coordinating the parental duties, rights and
obligations and ensures the best interest of the child(ren) remains the priority.


If the parties are unable to agree to a custody arrangement then a custody trial
will be necessary to resolve the dispute.  Utah law provides for a custody
evaluation in which an unbiased expert will interview the parties, the child(ren)
and may make home and school visits in order to determine the best interest of
the child(ren).  A custody consultation and mediation is also available as a less
intrusive and less expensive manner to resolve the dispute by agreement.  

Jensen Legal Services knows the custody dispute process forwards and
backwards and will ensure your voice is heard and that your issues and
concerns are addressed until a resolution can be reached.  Contact us today to
discuss your case and concerns in detail.  We are waiting to help you through
this important and stressful situation.
Useful Links in Custody Proceedings:

Utah Parent Time Statutes-  children under 5;    
children ages 5-18 (minimum schedule);             
children ages 5-18 (optional schedule- 145 overnights;  
advisory guidelines;                                          
relocation statute (150 miles / out of state)
Easy to read Holiday Sharing Schedule - For holiday
sharing one parent must be designated the non-
custodial parent - even in joint physical custody cases
for the sole purpose of dividing holidays.
Sample Parenting Plan - More detailed plans may be
required in most circumstances.  We can help you
formulate a complete and detailed plan to meet your
CALL or CLICK this number to set up your free Custody and Parent Time
consultation and case analysis
Troy R. Jensen, Esq.