Increasing Parent-Time for Noncustodial Parents
Every parent wants more time with their kids. It’s no surprise that custody and parent-time are two of the most contentious aspects of any divorce in which children are involved. If you have recently gone through such a divorce, and were not given primary custody of the kids, Utah recently passed legislation that might help you increase your time with your children.
A little over a year ago, the Utah Legislature gave voice to the importance of having both parents involved in the lives of their children. This resulted in new language being added to Utah’s divorce statute laying out factors a “court may consider” regarding “increased parent-time.” Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-35.1.
If you are a non-custodial parent receiving minimum standard parent-time (i.e. every other weekend and three hours during the week on the alternating weeks), the new statutory language may offer a way to have your parent-time increased.
Factors The Court Considers
How? The law states certain guidelines for a court to consider, including: how active the noncustodial parent is in the child’s life; how effectively the divorced parties can communicate; whether the noncustodial parent can handle, from a logistical standpoint, increased parent time; and, of course, the best interests of the child.
These guidelines are just that: guidelines. The court is free to consider these, or not, as well as “any other factor the court considers relevant.”
What can we do?
The law governing extended parent-time is still new for both attorneys and courts. As such, it isn’t exactly clear how courts will apply the law. If you are a noncustodial parent receiving minimum standard parent-time, this law may offer you a way to get more time with your kids. But where its application is still uncertain, let us help you navigate those murky waters. We can use our expertise to help a court to apply the law in your favor, and we can help you put your best foot forward. Where time with your kids is at stake, every minute counts. Call us today.