Co-Parenting in Utah: An Overview of Laws and Agreements

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Custody and Child Support

Under UCA 78B-12-105 and 30-3-7, child support and custody are two separate legal matters. Depending on the specific circumstances, the court may award joint or sole custody. When determining custody, the court weighs many factors in the child’s best interests such as the child’s preference, financial means, and the emotional and physical health of parents and child. When it comes to child support, the court looks at the income of both parents to determine the amount of money required and to whom it is owed. Both co-parents are legally obligated to provide support for the child, regardless of which parent has primary physical custody.


Co-Parenting Expenses

UCA 78B-12-115(4) outlines the expenses deemed necessary for a child's benefit. Both parents are responsible for paying for these items if the court orders it. However, if the court has awarded primary physical custody to one parent, that parent is generally expected to be primarily responsible for the co-parenting expenses.


Parental Rights and Decision-Making

Under UCA 78B-12-114, both co-parents retain their legal rights and responsibilities to their child, regardless of which parent has primary physical custody of the child. This includes the right to attend school, medical or sporting events, or to be involved with religious teaching or activities. In regards to decision-making, the court still requires both parents to be involved and consulted and will not allow one parent to make a decision without the other's consent – unless there is an emergency situation as specified by UCA 78B-12-116.


Parenting Plans

UCA 78B-12-117 outlines the provisions for parenting plans. These plans outline the rights and responsibilities of both parents in detail and must be created by the court for both legal and practical purposes. The court may also require mediation before these plans are approved. Parenting plans are designed to give both parents clear instructions on co-parenting activities, responsibilities and expectations.


Visitation Rights

UCA 78B-12-118(4) outlines the provisions for visitation rights. Court-ordered visitation is generally recommended if the child's parents are unable to agree on a visitation schedule. For the best interests of the child, the court will order reasonable visitation which may include time with both parents alone, time with the other parent's relatives, and communication via telephone, digital messaging, and video calling.



When co-parenting disputes arise, the court will often require the parties to participate in mediation. UCA 78B-12-127(5) requires both parties to attend mediation in an effort to resolve the dispute. Mediation helps both parents to understand each other better, to create reasonable custodial arrangements for the children, and to help make the process of co-parenting smoother. In some cases, the court may appoint a mediator to help the co-parents resolve their disputes.



Understanding Utah law on co-parenting is important for both parents in order to make the best decisions for themselves and their children. Following the laws and procedures associated with custody, child support, co-parenting expenses, parental rights and decision-making, parenting plans, visitation rights, and mediation can ensure that both parents remain responsible for their children, and that the children's best interests remain the primary objective.


Fact Check and Sources

In writing this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:


Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada


Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

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