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Utah Divorce Code 30-3-35.5

Utah Divorce Code 30-3-35.5

Utah Code 30-3-35.5: Minimum Schedule for Parent-Time for Children Under Five Years of Age

1. The parent-time schedule in this section applies to children under five years old.
2. All holidays in this section refer to the same holidays referenced in Section 30-3-35.
3. If the parties do not agree to a parent-time schedule, the following schedule shall be considered the minimum parent-time to which the noncustodial parent and the child shall be entitled.
a. For children under five months of age:
I. six hours of parent-time per week to be specified by the court or the noncustodial parent preferably:
II. divided into three parent-time periods; and in the custodial home, established child care setting, or other environment familiar to the child; and
III. two hours on holidays and in the years specified in Subsections 30-3-35(2) preferably in the custodial home, the established child care setting, or other environment familiar to the child.
b. For children five months of age or older, but younger than nine months of age: nine hours of parent-time per week to be specified by the court or the noncustodial parent preferably: divided into three parent-time periods; and in the custodial home, established child care setting, or other environment familiar to the child; and two hours on the holidays and in the years specified in Subsections 30-3-35(2)(f) through (k) preferably in the custodial home, the established child care setting, or other environment familiar to the child.

c. For children nine months of age or older, but younger than 12 months of age: one eight hour visit per week to be specified by the noncustodial parent or court; one three hour visit per week to be specified by the noncustodial parent or court; eight hours on the holidays and in the years specified in Subsections 30-3-35(2)(f) through (k); and brief telephone contact and other virtual parent-time, if the equipment is reasonably available, with the noncustodial parent at least two times per week, provided that if the parties cannot agree on whether the equipment is reasonably available, the court shall decide whether the equipment for virtual parent-time is reasonably available, taking into consideration: the best interests of the child; each parent’s ability to handle any additional expenses for virtual parent-time; and any other factors the court considers material.
d. For children 12 months of age or older, but younger than 18 months of age:
I. one eight-hour visit per alternating weekend to be specified by the noncustodial parent or court;
II. on opposite weekends from Subsection (3)(d)(i), from 6 p.m. on Friday until noon on Saturday;
III. one three-hour visit per week to be specified by the noncustodial parent or court;
IV. eight hours on the holidays and in the years specified in Subsections 30-3-35(2)(f) through (k); and
V. brief telephone contact and other virtual parent-time, if the equipment is reasonably available, with the noncustodial parent at least two times per week, provided that if the parties cannot agree on whether the equipment is reasonably available, the court shall decide whether the equipment for virtual parent-time is reasonably available, taking into consideration: the best interests of the child; each parent’s ability to handle any additional expenses for virtual parent-time; and any other factors the court considers material.
e. For children 18 months of age or older, but younger than three years of age:
I. one weekday evening between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to be specified by the noncustodial parent or court; however, if the child is being cared for during the day outside his regular place of residence, the noncustodial parent may, with advance notice to the custodial parent, pick up the child from the caregiver at an earlier time and return him to the custodial parent by 8:30 p.m.;

II. alternative weekends beginning on the first weekend after the entry of the decree from 6 p.m. on Friday until 7 p.m. on Sunday continuing each year;
III. parent-time on holidays as specified in Subsections 30-3-35(2)(c) through (k);
IV. extended parent-time may be: two one-week periods, separated by at least four weeks, at the option of the noncustodial parent; one week shall be uninterrupted time for the noncustodial parent; the remaining week shall be subject to parent-time for the custodial parent consistent with these guidelines; and the custodial parent shall have an identical one-week period of uninterrupted time for vacation; and
V. brief telephone contact and virtual parent-time, if the equipment is reasonably available, with the noncustodial parent at least two times per week, provided that if the parties cannot agree on whether the equipment is reasonably available, the court shall decide whether the equipment for virtual parent-time is reasonably available, taking into consideration: the best interests of the child; each parent’s ability to handle any additional expenses for virtual parent-time; and any other factors the court considers material.
f. For children three years of age or older, but younger than five years of age:
I. one weekday evening between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to be specified by the noncustodial parent or court; however, if the child is being cared for during the day outside his regular place of residence, the noncustodial parent may, with advance notice to the custodial parent, pick up the child from the caregiver at an earlier time and return him to the custodial parent by 8:30 p.m.;
II. alternative weekends beginning on the first weekend after the entry of the decree from 6 p.m. on Friday until 7 p.m. on Sunday continuing each year;
III. parent-time on holidays as specified in Subsections 30-3-35(2)(c) through (k);
IV. extended parent-time with the noncustodial parent may be: two two-week periods, separated by at least four weeks, at the option of the noncustodial parent; one two-week period shall be uninterrupted time for the noncustodial parent; the remaining two-week period shall be subject to parent-time for the custodial parent consistent with these guidelines; and the custodial parent shall have an identical two-week period of uninterrupted time for vacation; and
V. brief telephone contact and virtual parent-time, if the equipment is reasonably available, with the noncustodial parent at least two times per week, provided that if the parties cannot agree on whether the equipment is reasonably available, the court shall decide whether the equipment for virtual parent-time is reasonably available, taking into consideration: the best interests of the child; each parent’s ability to handle any additional expenses for virtual parent-time; and any other factors the court considers material.
4. A parent shall notify the other parent at least 30 days in advance of extended parent-time or vacation weeks.
5. Virtual parent-time shall be at reasonable hours and for reasonable duration.

Grounds for Denying Visitation Rights

It’s widely accepted that a child thrives when both parents take an active role in the child’s life. There are exceptions, but most judges begin custody and visitation hearings with this presumption. Either parent may present evidence to the court asserting that it’s not in the child’s best interest for a parent to have visitation rights. After considering the evidence presented in court, a judge may determine one of three outcomes: insufficient evidence to deny visitation, visitation should be limited/monitored, or visitation should be denied.

When Can A Parent Deny Parent Time?

If a court enters an order granting visitation rights to the other parent during a divorce proceeding or otherwise, the custodial parent is violating the order if he or she denies visitation with the child. Failure to pay child support is a common reason a parent may deny visitation with the other parent. However, child support and child visitation are two separate matters. The court could sanction a parent who withholds visitation because the other parent is behind in child support payments. A parent who believes a child is in danger or is being harmed during visitation should contact an attorney immediately. If the child is in immediate harm, the parent can contact the police. In these situations, an emergency hearing can be held so a judge may hear evidence and suspend visitation until the matter is thoroughly investigated. Unless a parent is bringing false allegations to suspend visitation, the court will not hold the custodial parent in contempt for denying visitation until a hearing is held. However, the parent should work with an attorney or local authorities instead of attempting to handle the matter alone.

Why Visitation Rights May be Suspended or Modified

Either parent may file a petition with the court to modify or suspend visitation rights based on a variety of circumstances. In most cases, the court requires that the party demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances that justifies modifying or suspending visitation. Visitation rights may be denied for the same reasons they would be modified or suspended. Custody laws require that judges consider the best interests of the child when ruling on custody and visitation matters. Most states have enacted laws or have specific case law that lists the factors used in determining the best interest of the child. However, most states also allow judges to consider other relevant information that is necessary to determine the child’s best interest. A parent’s visitation rights may be denied or suspended if a judge determines visitation with the parent is not in the child’s best interest. Examples of circumstances that often result in a temporary or permanent denial of visitation rights include:
• Physical harm or domestic violence
• Sexual abuse
• Child abduction
• Substance abuse, especially abuse of illegal substances
• Incarceration of a parent
• Neglect and emotional abuse
• Dangerous and hazardous living conditions
• Refusal to co-parent or intentional interference and cause of harm to the child’s relationship with the other parent
• Allowing children to miss school excessively during visitations
• Exposing children to dangerous situations or individuals
• Violation of prior court orders
Circumstances that place the child in harm or could cause harm to the child may be considered sufficient grounds to deny parental visitation. However, in some cases, a judge may grant supervised visitation. With supervised visitation, the child is permitted to continue a relationship with the parent, but the parent’s contact with the child is monitored so the child is not harmed or placed in a situation in which harm might occur. If you believe visitation with your child’s other parent is harmful to your child, you can work with the court to protect your child. Your local department for family and children’s services can help you take steps to protect your child if you do not know where else to turn. If you believe your child is in imminent danger, consider contacting your local law enforcement agency for immediate assistance.

Parental Responsibility

When the parents of a child under the age of 18 separate, they both continue to share parental responsibility for the child. This is called ‘Equal Shared Parental Responsibility’. This means that both parents share the responsibility for making decisions about major long term issues. It includes things like where a child will go to school, major health decisions, and religious observance. This applies except when a court decides it is in the best interests of the child to remove parental responsibility from one or both parents. Parental responsibility applies regardless of whether the child’s parents were ever in a relationship, married, de facto or otherwise. Equal shared parental responsibility is not the same as equal time.

Your Child’s Wellbeing

It can be hard for children when their parents separate. It is important that you focus on what is best for your children right now, and into the future. Don’t criticize your children’s other parent or pressure your children to make decisions about their own care. Children love their parents and it can be harmful to put them in a situation where they feel that they have to choose between their parents. Visitation dos and don’ts for both parents and children, visitation is critical to maintaining a sense of connectedness both during and after a divorce. In the early stages of family restructuring and co-parenting, however, visitation is frequently a source of conflict. If former spouses want revenge, finding ways to spoil a visitation is easy. If they want to help their children through a difficult transition, they will find ways to make visitation successful. For visitation to work, both parents need to accept and acknowledge that their children have two homes one with their father and one with their mother. Parents need to make sure that their children are safe and comfortable in both places, even if they don’t spend equal time there. Parents need to help make the transition from one home to the other smooth and calm. They also need to make sure they are being consistent in rules and discipline. Constructive parenting goals the following guidelines are examples of parenting goals that can help children grow into healthy, happy, whole people:

• Both parents should encourage visitation to help their children grow in positive ways.
• Children need to know it is okay to love both parents.
• In general, parents should treat each other with respect for their children’s benefit.
• Each parent should respect the other’s child-raising views by trying, when possible, to be consistent.

Tips for Smooth Visitations Parents should work together to make visitation exchanges and the visitation itself a positive experience for all. Some ideas are:
• Be as flexible as possible with schedules.
• Treat your former spouse with respect.
• Help children feel safe and comfortable in both homes.
• Develop routines to give children a sense of security.
• Maintain open communication lines with your former spouse.
• Don’t question your children’s loyalty.
• Help make the transition from one home to the other smooth and calm.
• Discuss rules and discipline with your former spouse so you are consistent.
• Encourage visitation that includes grandparents and extended family.
• Make sure your children have their own places in your home even if it is just part of a room so they feel it is also their home.
• Help your children meet other kids in your neighborhood so they have friends at both homes.
• Try to keep a routine schedule to help prepare your children for visitation.
• Have a checklist of items such as clothing and a special toy that your children need to take with them.

Divorce Lawyer

When you need a Divorce Lawyer, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Michael Anderson

About the Author

People who want a lot of Bull go to a Butcher. People who want results navigating a complex legal field go to a Lawyer that they can trust. That’s where I come in. I am Michael Anderson, an Attorney in the Salt Lake area focusing on the needs of the Average Joe wanting a better life for him and his family. I’m the Lawyer you can trust. I grew up in Utah and love it here. I am a Father to three, a Husband to one, and an Entrepreneur. I understand the feelings of joy each of those roles bring, and I understand the feeling of disappointment, fear, and regret when things go wrong. I attended the University of Utah where I received a B.A. degree in 2010 and a J.D. in 2014. I have focused my practice in Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Business Law. I love the thrill of helping clients secure their future, leaving a real legacy to their children. Unfortunately when problems arise with families. I also practice Family Law, with a focus on keeping relationships between the soon to be Ex’s civil for the benefit of their children and allowing both to walk away quickly with their heads held high. Before you worry too much about losing everything that you have worked for, before you permit yourself to be bullied by your soon to be ex, before you shed one more tear in silence, call me. I’m the Lawyer you can trust.