Changing child custody agreements in Utah
Parents who wish to change their child custody agreements in Utah should be aware of the various steps necessary to do so. For example, as Utah Courts points out, a court must have jurisdiction in order to make a modification. The process can get quite complex, especially if the order was not established by or last changed through a Utah court.
Utah Courts points out that in many cases, a child custody plan likely has a clause that dictates how parents must try to resolve any disputes before going to court. For example, the parents may need to try alternative dispute resolution in an attempt to reach an agreement. This can often save parents time and money. However, if they cannot reach a solution, the parents may then file a petition with the court that has jurisdiction over the order.
In most cases, there must be a substantial change in either the circumstances of the child or of the custodial parent in order to get a plan modified. Those changes could include the following:
- Allegations of abuse
- A parent’s addiction
- A felony conviction
A parent can also request a modification when there is a positive change. For example, a court originally determined that a parent who did not have a job could not have custody of a child. Once the parent obtains gainful employment, it may be possible to reevaluate the child’s living situation.
As the Utah law points out, custody decisions are largely made in the best interest of the child. Therefore, any modification to a plan will have to reflect that sentiment. Utah Courts also points out that changing a custody agreement could have implications on a child support agreement, which is something parents must consider when seeking a modification.