Family Law Attorney in Utah
Child Custody Specialized Representation Tailored to Your Goals

Salt Lake County Child Custody Attorney

Draper-Based Lawyers Also Serving Utah County

Children are affected in many different ways by the divorce or separation of their parents and the breakup of their family. Kids often feel like their whole world has been turned upside down. It is important to be patient and reassure them that they are loved as you navigate through your divorce and put solid child custody arrangements in place. Because both legal and physical custody should be addressed, you need an experienced family law attorney in Utah to help you establish effective child custody and parent time agreement.

If you are facing child custody issues, it is important to have a skilled attorney who understands the ins and outs of Utah’s family laws on your side. Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC, understands Utah’s child custody "best interests" standards and how they can affect your case. Get experienced legal advice in Salt Lake County and Utah County from our Draper-based firm.

Call today for your free 30-minute consultation: (801) 515-4133.

Types of Child Custody in Utah

Child custody issues in the Beehive State will fall under the broad categories of physical custody and legal custody. The secondary category determines if one or both parents have custody designation. Listed below are Utah’s five child custody types:

Sole Legal Custody

Gives one designated parent the authority to make important decisions, including:

  • Religion
  • School
  • Health Care
  • Child Care
  • Travel
  • Sports Participation
  • Extracurricular Activities

While the other parent or non-custodial parent does not have decision making power, he or she has the right to be informed of these important decisions.

Sole Physical Custody

Sole or primary custody means the child lives with the designated parent and the other parent may be granted child visitation also known as parent time. The standard Utah child visitation schedule states that the non-custodial parent is allowed minimum visitation (approximately 86 overnight visits per year), including:

  • Every Other Weekend
  • One Weekday Evening Each Week
  • Two Holidays Per Year
  • Four Weeks During Summer Break

Joint Legal Custody

Allows both parents to make decisions about major issues for their child by working together. A joint or shared legal custody agreement must always include a parenting plan in the divorce decree. If the parents were not married, the parenting plan might be included in a judicial paternity order. The degree must also include a provision describing the process for dispute resolution.

  • Joint Physical Custody means the child lives with both parents for an equal number of days per year. While the number of days is not specified in Utah, child support begins to be calculated for anything over 111 overnights per year on the required joint custody worksheet.
  • Split Physical Custody arrangements can be outlined for parents with more than one child if the court determines it is in the best interest of children to live in separate households. Each parent is awarded sole custody or joint legal custody of each of the children.

Determining Child Custody

After separation or divorce, both parents are still legally responsible for the care of their children in the state of Utah. A parenting plan within the divorce decree will outline the role of each parent. Utah law considers a number of factors that help determine child custody by following guidelines for the best interest of the child, including:

  • Parent/Child Bonding
  • A Child’s Emotional, Physical & Psychological Needs
  • Parental Stability
  • Each Parents Past & Present Ability to Agree on Shared Decisions
  • The Willingness of Each Parent to Encourage Visitation
  • The Level of Participation in Raising the Child Before the Divorce
  • Each Parent’s Geographic Location
  • Parental Criminal History
  • The Child’s Preference (Based on Age and Maturity Level)
  • Other Factors Relating to the Best Interest of the Child

Choose an Experienced Child Custody Attorney in Salt Lake County

Eric M. Swinyard is a compassionate family attorney who understands that while parents know that divorce is the best thing for everyone involved, the kids need a sense of securing during this difficult time. When a child custody agreement is in place, parents find that their kids are resilient and will quickly adjust to the new arrangements.

Contact us to schedule your free, confidential 30-minute consultation and learn about your legal options to protect your child’s best interests and your rights as a parent.

Testimonials

Real Clients. Real Results. 
  • Amy Lee

    He is very prompt with his responses to emails and phone calls which makes the process less stressful.

  • Dalisa

    This was all so stress free. I’m extremely great full for Preston and his staff for putting forth all the time to help me out!

  • Bart

    Highly recommend Eric and Preston without reservation. Their fees are more than reasonable and their service more than expected.

  • Nicolle G.

    I have had an absolutely positive experience through and through with them. They’re professional, empathetic, and ethical. I wish ...

  • Thomas M.

    He handled all matters promptly and thoroughly. He cares deeply about his clients and makes sure their needs are fully understood.

  • Bethany

    He and his office were conscientious about my financial needs and made sure I knew when charges were going to be made, so it ...

  • Logan

    I couldn’t be more pleased with the results and would definitely recommend Eric to anyone looking for a fantastic lawyer and a ...

  • Jared H.

    All issues were handled in a very timely and transparent manner.

  • Sean K.

    Working with Eric was a breeze. He addressed my concerns and laid out several options that were unique to my situation.

  • Robin S.

    If it wasn't for Eric and Preston, I wouldn't have gotten custody of my 2 children.

Meet Our Team

Professional. Confident. Approachable.
  • Eric M. Swinyard Photo
    Eric M. Swinyard

    Founding Attorney

    Eric M. Swinyard is a litigation and small business attorney who serves clients throughout Utah and across the country. He has offices in both Salt Lake County and Utah County. Eric’s practice is focused on providing personalized, high-quality legal services to both individuals and businesses. He regularly assists clients in various practice areas , including divorce , parentage ( paternity ), adoption , debt collection, estate planning , business advice, asset protection, litigation (civil, ...
  • Ryan  Ficklin Photo
    Ryan Ficklin

    Attorney

    Ryan Ficklin is an associate attorney at Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC. Prior to practicing law in Utah, Ryan practiced family law in Southern California. In 2017, Ryan relocated back to his home state of Utah to focus on serving the people of Utah who need legal representation, particularly in the family law realm. Ryan graduated with honors from California’s Whittier Law School in May of 2015. While in law school, Ryan was a staff member for The Journal of Child and Family Advocacy. Ryan ...
  • Preston  Day Photo
    Preston Day

    Attorney

    Preston Day is an associate attorney at Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC. Before assuming his position as an associate attorney, Preston spent over two years working as a prosecuting attorney for Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County. During his time as a prosecutor, he managed several hundred cases and took over 100 cases to trial. In his current role, Preston manages primarily divorce , family , and criminal cases . Preston began his legal career working as a law clerk for Judge Richard ...
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