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Utah Divorce Code 30-3-35

Utah Divorce Code 30-3-35

Utah Code 30-3-35: Minimum Schedule For Parent-Time For Children 5 To 18 Years Of Age

1. The parent-time schedule in this section applies to children 5 to 18 years of age.

2. 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. (i) (A) One weekday evening to be specified by the noncustodial parent or the court, or Wednesday evening if not specified, from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.;

(B) at the election of the noncustodial parent, one weekday from the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed until 8:30 p.m., unless the court directs the application of Subsection (2)(a)(i); or (C) at the election of the noncustodial parent, if school is not in session, one weekday from approximately 9 a.m., accommodating the custodial parents work schedule, until 8:30 p.m. if the noncustodial parent is available to be with the child, unless the court directs the application of Subsection (2)(a)(i)(A) or (2)(a)(i)(B). (ii) Once the election of the weekday for the weekday evening parent-time is made, it may not be changed except by mutual written agreement or court order.

b. (i) (A) Alternating 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;

(B) at the election of the noncustodial parent, from the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed on Friday until 7 p.m. on Sunday, unless the court directs the application of Subsection (2)(b)(i)(A); or (C) at the election of the noncustodial parent, if school is not in session, on Friday from approximately 9 a.m., accommodating the custodial parents work schedule, until 7 p.m. on Sunday, if the noncustodial parent is available to be with the child unless the court directs the application of Subsection (2)(b)(i)(A) or (2)(b)(i)(B). (ii) A step-parent, grandparent, or other responsible adult designated by the noncustodial parent, may pick up the child if the custodial parent is aware of the identity of the individual, and the parent will be with the child by 7 p.m.

(iii) An election should be made by the noncustodial parent at the time of entry of the divorce decree or court order, and may be changed by mutual agreement, court order, or by the noncustodial parent in the event of a change in the child’s schedule.

(iv) weekends include any “snow” days, teacher development days, or other days when school is not scheduled and which are contiguous to the weekend period.

c. Holidays include any “snow” days, teacher development days after the children begin the school year, or other days when school is not scheduled, contiguous to the holiday period, and take precedence over the weekend parent-time. Changes may not be made to the regular rotation of the alternating weekend parent-time schedule, however:

(i) birthdays take precedence over holidays and extended parent-time, except Mother’s Day and Father’s Day; and

(ii) birthdays do not take precedence over uninterrupted parent-time if the parent exercising uninterrupted time takes the child away from that parent’s residence for the uninterrupted extended parent-time.

d. If a holiday falls on a regularly scheduled school day, the noncustodial parent shall be responsible for the child’s attendance at school for that school day.

e. (i) If a holiday falls on a weekend or on a Friday or Monday and the total holiday period extends beyond that time so that the child is free from school and the parent is free from work, the noncustodial parent shall be entitled to this lengthier holiday period.

(ii) (A) At the election of the noncustodial parent, parent-time over a scheduled holiday weekend may begin from the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed at the beginning of the holiday weekend until 7 p.m. on the last day of the holiday weekend; or

(B) at the election of the noncustodial parent, if school is not in session, parent-time over a scheduled holiday weekend may begin at approximately 9 a.m., accommodating the custodial parents work schedule, the first day of the holiday weekend until 7 p.m. on the last day of the holiday weekend, if the noncustodial parent is available to be with the child unless the court directs the application of Subsection (2)(e)(ii)(A). (iii) A step-parent, grandparent, or other responsible individual designated by the noncustodial parent, may pick up the child if the custodial parent is aware of the identity of the individual, and the parent will be with the child by 7 p.m.
(iv) An election should be made by the noncustodial parent at the time of the divorce decree or court order, and may be changed by mutual agreement, court order, or by the noncustodial parent in the event of a change in the child’s schedule.
f. In years ending in an odd number, the noncustodial parent is entitled to the following holidays:
(i) child’s birthday on the day before or after the actual birthdate beginning at 3 p.m. until 9 p.m., at the discretion of the noncustodial parent, the noncustodial parent may take other siblings along for the birthday;
(ii) Martin Luther King, Jr. beginning 6 p.m. on Friday until Monday at 7 p.m. unless the holiday extends for a lengthier period of time to which the noncustodial parent is completely entitled;
(iii) subject to Subsection (2)(i), spring break beginning at 6 p.m. on the day school lets out for the holiday until 7 p.m. on the evening before school resumes;
(iv) July 4 beginning 6 p.m. the day before the holiday until 11 p.m. or no later than 6 p.m. on the day following the holiday, at the option of the parent exercising the holiday;
(v) Labor Day beginning 6 p.m. on Friday until Monday at 7 p.m., unless the holiday extends for a lengthier period of time to which the noncustodial parent is completely entitled;
(vi) the fall school breaks, if applicable, commonly known as U.E.A. weekend beginning at 6 p.m. on Wednesday until Sunday at 7 p.m. unless the holiday extends for a lengthier period of time to which the noncustodial parent is completely entitled;
(vii)Veterans Day holiday beginning 6 p.m. the day before the holiday until 7 p.m. on the holiday; and
(viii) the first portion of the Christmas school vacation as defined in Subsection 30-3-32(3)(b) including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, continuing until 1 p.m. on the day halfway through the holiday period, if there are an odd number of days for the holiday period, or until 7 p.m. if there are an even number of days for the holiday period, so long as the entire holiday period is equally divided.
g. In years ending in an even number, the noncustodial parent is entitled to the following holidays:
(i) child’s birthday on actual birthdate beginning at 3 p.m. until 9 p.m., at the discretion of the noncustodial parent, the noncustodial parent may take other siblings along for the birthday;
(ii) President’s Day beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday until 7 p.m. on Monday unless the holiday extends for a lengthier period of time to which the noncustodial parent is completely entitled;
(iii) Memorial Day beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday until Monday at 7 p.m., unless the holiday extends for a lengthier period of time to which the noncustodial parent is completely entitled;
(iv) July 24 beginning at 6 p.m. on the day before the holiday until 11 p.m. or no later than 6 p.m. on the day following the holiday, at the option of the parent exercising the holiday;
(v) Columbus Day beginning at 6 p.m. the day before the holiday until 7 p.m. on the holiday;
(vi) Halloween on October 31 or the day Halloween is traditionally celebrated in the local community from after school until 9 p.m. if on a school day, or from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.;
(vii) Thanksgiving holiday beginning Wednesday at 7 p.m. until Sunday at 7 p.m.; and

(viii) the second portion of the Christmas school vacation as defined in Subsection 30-3-32(3)(b), beginning 1 p.m. on the day halfway through the holiday period, if there are an odd number of days for the holiday period, or at 7 p.m. if there are an even number of days for the holiday period, so long as the entire Christmas holiday period is equally divided.
h. The custodial parent is entitled to the odd year holidays in even years and the even year holidays in odd years.
(i) If there is more than one child and the children’s school schedules vary for purpose of a holiday, it is presumed that the children will remain together for the holiday period beginning the first evening all children’s schools are let out for the holiday and ending the evening before any child returns to school.
i. Father’s Day shall be spent with the natural or adoptive father every year beginning at 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the holiday.
j. Mother’s Day shall be spent with the natural or adoptive mother every year beginning at 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the holiday.
(l) Extended parent-time with the noncustodial parent may be:
(i) up to four consecutive weeks when school is not in session at the option of the noncustodial parent, including weekends normally exercised by the noncustodial parent, but not holidays;
(ii) two weeks shall be uninterrupted time for the noncustodial parent; and
(iii) the remaining two weeks shall be subject to parent-time for the custodial parent for weekday parent-time but not weekends, except for a holiday to be exercised by the other parent.
k. The custodial parent shall have an identical two-week period of uninterrupted time when school is not in session for purposes of vacation.
l. Both parents shall provide notification of extended parent-time or vacation weeks with the child at least 30 days before the end of the child’s school year to the other parent and if notification is not provided timely the complying parent may determine the schedule for extended parent-time for the non-complying parent.
m. Telephone contact shall be at reasonable hours and for a reasonable duration.
n. Virtual parent-time, if the equipment is reasonably available and the parents reside at least 100 miles apart, shall be at reasonable hours and for reasonable duration, 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:
(i) the best interests of the child;
(ii) each parent’s ability to handle any additional expenses for virtual parent-time; and
(iii)any other factors the court considers material.
3. An election required to be made in accordance with this section by either parent concerning parent-time shall be made a part of the decree and made a part of the parent-time order.
4. Notwithstanding Subsection (2)(e)(i), the Halloween holiday may not be extended beyond the hours designated in Subsection (2)(g)(vi).
Pros and Cons of an Every Extended Weekend Schedule
Pros:
• The schedule is very consistent and easy to implement.
• Children who struggle with change and require consistency do well on this schedule.
• There are only two exchanges and they can be planned around school or childcare.
• Both parents have time with the child every week.
• The child doesn’t go for very long without seeing either parent.
• Both parents have substantial time with the child so there may be less fighting over the schedule.
• The schedule can work well with different types of work schedules.
• Parents don’t need to live close by each other.
• It doesn’t require extensive coordination or communication about school and homework, so it can work well for high-conflict situations.
Cons:
• One parent has the child every weekend.
• The schedule may be difficult for some work schedules.

Can Visitation Be Denied To A Non-Custodial Parent?

A denial of visitation rights by the custodial parent to a non-custodial parent, absent a change in an existing court order for visitation rights, is illegal. This is true both in situations in which the parents have agreed on a parenting plan outside of court, and in situations in which scheduled visitation has been ordered by the court. The legal phrase for this scenario is called frustration of child visitation rights, and in many states this can be cause to change the court-ordered child custody arrangement and hold the custodial parent in contempt of court.

Can a Custodial Parent Ever Deny Visitation?

Visitation rights are taken seriously by courts, as it is generally felt that it is in the best interest of the child to spend time with both parents. Because of the importance that courts place on the child’s best interest when determining custody arrangements, child visitation rights can rarely, if ever be legally denied by the custodial parent. The denial of child visitation rights are most commonly thought of as situations in which a custodial parent blatantly refuses to allow the non-custodial parent to see the child. A typical example of this scenario would be when a mother, who has full custody of her son, refuses to let the son get into his father’s car when his father comes to pick him up for his visitation period. However, visitation rights can also be illegally denied in more subtle ways. For example, it is also illegal for a custodial parent to refuse visitation rights on the basis that they don’t like the non-custodial parent’s significant other; the child is sick; the child is visiting relatives; the child is out of town or at another scheduled activity; or for almost any other basis. Further, in cases where there is an emergency just before a scheduled visitation, such as when the child must be taken to the hospital, the noncustodial parent should be notified so that they may visit the child there.

What if the Non-Custodial Parent is Behind on Support Payments?

Most of the time, the bad acts of a non-custodial parent do not give a custodial parent a legal basis for denying the parent his or her visitation rights. For example, even if the non-custodial parent has defaulted on child support payments, this is not a basis for the custodial parent to deny visitation. Even in cases in which the non-custodial parent is incarcerated, there is generally only a basis to deny visitation where visits are harmful to the child, and this suspension of visitation must still be court-ordered. If the custodial parent suspects that the non-custodial parent is abusing the child, or putting the child in danger, then the custodial parent should report this immediately, and act through legal venues to get the current visitation rights changed. In these cases, the non-custodial parent will likely be denied visitation by a court order. It is important to know however, that if a custodial parent makes unsubstantiated abuse allegations solely in an effort to deny the noncustodial parent his or her visitation rights, they could risk losing custody to the noncustodial parent. Another possible scenario is where the custodial parent has reason to believe that the non-custodial parent is drinking or using drugs during visitation periods. If a custodial parent ever suspects that the non-custodial parent is drinking or under the influence when the parent arrives to pick up the children, the custodial parent may want to consider calling the police. However, as with abuse charges, a custodial parent who asserts that the non-custodial parent is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and calls law enforcement should use caution not to make frivolous accusations. If the police arrive and determine that the non-custodial parent is under the influence the custodial parent will have prevented the child from being placed in danger, but if not, the false accusations and trauma caused could be reason for a court to find harassment by the custodial parent or other reason to change the custody arrangement in favor of the non-custodial parent.

Utah Divorce Attorney

When you need help with child custody or family law in Utah, 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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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.