Father sitting down with his daughter

The Rights of a Parent with Sole Legal Custody

What is sole legal custody?

Sole legal custody is when one parent is awarded complete authority to make decisions on behalf of the child. The other parent will may often still have visitation rights and an obligation to provide financial support but no right to provide input on significant life decisions for the child. These major life decisions are often related to education, medical treatment, religion, and extra-curricular activities.

In the past decade, sole legal custody has become rarer in Utah. The Utah legislature passed a law creating a rebuttal presumption that joint legal custody is in the best interest of a child. This means the court will assume both parents are capable and competent to be involved in making significant decisions, such as where the child attends school or whether the child gets elective medical treatment. A parent wanting sole legal custody will have to provide compelling evidence as to why the other parent should not be involved in making decisions.

What rights do I have?

In terms of your legal rights, the parent with sole legal custody can make decisions regarding the child’s education, medical care, emotional wellbeing, and moral development. It’s important to note that a parent with sole legal custody still needs to abide by the terms of the court’s order in providing visitation to the other parent. If you feel the court-ordered visitation schedule is not physically or emotionally safe, you can return to court to attempt to modify the schedule.

Can my custody order be modified?

Yes, it can but under certain circumstances. To get a modified custody order, you will need to show the court that there has been a major change in circumstances since the original order was entered. This could be for a multitude of reasons, but some of the most common reasons involve the child’s needs changing or a physical relocation of the child. In some cases, a custody order may be modified if one of the parties refuses to follow the terms of the custody.

If you are looking to modify the terms of your custody order, speak with your attorney as soon as possible.

Utah custody attorneys

Here at Pearson Butler, we understand how complex custody cases can be. If you are seeking sole legal custody of your children, give our Utah attorneys a call today. With our experience and collaborative approach, we can provide you with the necessary counsel to help you and your family achieve your best interests.

Contact Pearson Butler at (800) 265-2314 or fill out a form on our website for a consultation.