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R.B. v. L.B., 2014 UT App 270, 339 P.3d 137 (Nov. 14, 2014) 

Nov 14, 2014

Parents’ custody agreement provided that mother would have physical custody of the son until he entered seventh grade, at which point custody would switch to the father. The agreement also provided that a custody evaluator would be retained at that time to assess whether the change in custody to the father until tenth grade remained in the child’s best interest. Although the evaluator agreed that the change was in the child’s best interest, the district court nevertheless allowed the mother to retain custody. In response to the father’s argument that the court should have been reluctant to set aside the stipulated-to change-of-custody provision, the Court of Appeals held that the district court did not err by ruling it had the statutory authority to conduct a best-interest analysis. The parents could not by stipulation divest the court of its statutory charge to ensure that any custody arrangement or change of custody serves the child’s best interest.