There are three basic custody arrangements in Utah. One is called standard parenting time. Standard parenting time means the non-custodial parent gets every other Friday to Sunday and a weekly Wednesday night visit. Utah statutes claim standard parenting time is for the best interest of the children and remains common as many older cases have settled under that custody arrangement.
A few years ago, the legislature passed a modified standard parenting time arrangement based around joint custody. This modified standard schedule means the non-custodial parent has every other weekend from Friday to Monday morning, and Wednesday to Thursday overnight each week. This means the child has two additional overnight stays with the child (bi-weekly) compared to a standard parenting time arrangement.
The idea behind joint custody was to give the kids an opportunity to experience more of both the exciting and boring times in both parents’ homes. This helps so that one parent doesn’t get stuck doing all the heavy lifting while the other only does fun activities while spending weekends with the children. It also helps both parents feel more connected and involved in their children’s lives.
Within the last year, the legislature also passed a schedule for equal parent time. Equal parent time allows the children to remain with each parent for exactly half of the year. Children in an equal parent time arrangement will be with one parent for two nights before alternating with the other parent for two nights. This gives the kids an opportunity to have equal time in each home and a chance to adjust to a somewhat more stable schedule. It also allows both parents to be very involved. In fact, parents are required to demonstrate that they are involved in their children’s schooling, medical care, and other important aspects of their lives. Each parent should also demonstrate that they’re able to work together reasonably well, and live close enough to facilitate the routine of exchanging responsibility.
What Is That Best Interest Of The Child Standard?
The best interest of a child standard is the standard law used by the court to make decisions about the child. When the court’s looking at custody, the bottom line is, what is the best interest of the child?
There are many factors being considered during a divorce hearing and some of them can make or break your case. That’s why it’s important to have an attorney for family law matters come prepared with evidence and all the information necessary to deliver a strong case for your claims.
Is There Ever An Age Where A Child Might Have Input Or Can Have Input Into Who He Or She Will Live With?
In Utah, the statutes say that a court should take a child’s opinion into consideration if they are at least age 14. However, most of the time when I hear judges discuss this, they say that it starts to carry more weight once the child is 16 or 17. A big reason for that is at 16, kids are able to get driver’s licenses, have jobs, and are developing extensive social networks outside of the home. Those social networks start to play a bigger role in these teenagers’ lives than the family does, especially if it’s a family in conflict and turmoil. When a parent or the court starts imposing mandates and trying to force young people to do something that they may not want to do, they’ll often get a job that keeps them away or start to drift away from the family dynamic. Thus, to avoid estranging the children from mom or dad, courts will tend to listen to older children with a strong stance.
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