Statutory Parent-time Options in Utah

Statutory Parent-time Options in Utah

In Utah, there are three statutory parent-time (also known as visitation) options designed to accommodate different family situations and needs during and after a divorce. These options are outlined in Utah Code § 30-3-35 (Minimum Parent-Time Schedule), § 30-3-35.1 (Extended Parent-Time for Parents Residing Over 150 Miles Apart), and § 30-3-35.2 (Optional Schedule for Children 5 to 18 Years of Age). Here’s an overview of each:

1. Minimum Parent-Time Schedule (Utah Code § 30-3-35)

The Minimum Parent-Time Schedule is the default arrangement for parents living within 150 miles of each other. It provides a balanced framework aimed at ensuring both parents remain actively involved in their child’s life.

  • Weekdays and Weekends: The non-custodial parent typically has the child every other weekend from Friday evening to Sunday evening and one evening a week.
  • Holidays: Holidays are alternated between the parents each year. This includes major holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and others.
  • Summer Vacation: The non-custodial parent is entitled to extended time during the summer, usually four consecutive weeks, with possible adjustments for special circumstances.

2. Extended Parent-Time For Parents Residing Over 150 Miles Apart (Utah Code § 30-3-35.1)

For parents who live more than 150 miles apart, the Extended Parent-Time schedule accommodates the increased distance by allowing for longer but less frequent visits.

  • Weekends and Holidays: The non-custodial parent gets extended periods during school holidays, including fall break, winter break, spring break, and summer vacation. The specific durations are longer to compensate for fewer regular visits.
  • Summer Vacation: Typically, the non-custodial parent can have the child for up to six weeks during the summer.
  • Additional Visits: There may be provisions for additional visits if both parents agree or if circumstances allow.

3. Equal Parent-Time For Children 5 To 18 Years Of Age (Utah Code § 30-3-35.2)

The Optional Schedule offers more flexibility and is designed for children aged 5 to 18, recognizing that older children may have different needs and schedules.

  • Alternating Weeks: This schedule may allow for alternating weeks between parents, or other arrangements that offer a more balanced and continuous presence of both parents in the child’s life.
  • Customizable Time: Parents can customize the schedule to fit their child’s activities, school commitments, and other individual needs.
  • Flexibility for Teens: As children grow older, their schedules can be adjusted more fluidly to accommodate their social, educational, and extracurricular activities.

Conclusion

These statutory parent-time options in Utah provide a structured yet flexible approach to post-divorce parenting, aiming to maintain strong parent-child relationships and adjust to the unique needs of each family. Courts and parents can modify these schedules to better fit specific circumstances, always prioritizing the best interests of the child.

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