New parenting law gives divorced parents equal time with children 

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DRAPER, Utah - A new law is leveling the playing field between divorced parents. 

The new law gives a parent who does not have custody of their child equal rights to time with their child. 

As of Tuesday, both parents could get to spend equal time with their children.

Advocates say, traditionally, family courts awarded sole custody to one parent usually the mother, about 80  percent of the time.

Under House Bill 35, a judge could grant a non-custodial parent more time with their child.

So that means a child's midweek visit becomes an overnight visit and a weekend visit to mom or dad's ends Monday morning, instead of Sunday evening.

Advocates are praising Utah lawmakers for leading the charge on shared parenting legislation. 

"The number one thing that both parents and children want together with their children after a divorce or separation is simply more time together," Dan Deuel said, National Parents Organization of Utah Chair.

Now both parents must agree to the conditions and it's granted by a judge if they feel like both parents are involved in the child's life.

There is some concern that a non-custodial parent who hasn't been there for the child for years, can just show up and is entitled to the maximum time.

Judges said they will take that into account and may deny the request.

42 comments

  • Hyrum_Justice

    Only fair then to figure the amount of time spent with the child (children) on the child support. Non-custodial parents cannot have overnight visitation if they are living in a refridgerator box. Time spent with children should be considered in any child support amount.

    • JayDub

      Hyr_jus,
      If you got notified that someone reported your comment I am sorry. I accidentally hit that link instead of the reply link.

    • Joe

      If non custodial parents arent hit with excessive child support payments, 99% of them wouldnt have to live in a box

      • cmh

        Very true with this statement of box living. Children would have equal homes if each parent worked for a living and provided their share to their children not to the courts or other parent. This should be law as well. Go Utah… I feel this is the final frontier of equal rights in this country.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        CMH – The final frontier of equal rights in this country will be when children get a say in which parent and sucky step parent/boyfriend/girlfriend they want to have primary custody of them.
        There is nothing than having a child to use as a tool in getting revenge on your ex-spouse.

  • JayDub

    That’s all fine and dandy to have something like this on the books. I applaud Utah for doing, like Bob says, what is right. The problem is when a divorced individual has a controlling, manipulating, & can do no wrong (in their opinion) ex and that ex has physical custody they just deny visitation all together. They use lies to excuse this deplorable behavior and unless you have an endless bank account there is nothing you can do. Ugh, this type of situation happens far to often and it gets my blood boiling. My opinion is kids need both parents (if they want) to be a part of their life. It doesn’t accomplish anything to deny a child visitation with their mother or father regardless of what the “perfect parent” thinks.

    JW

  • ANOTHERBOB

    My sympathies to children that get bounced around from one house to the other while their parents fight over possession issues.
    Lucky is the child that lives in one stable home with his/her bio-parents.

    • Don

      Those who complain that shared parenting by parents living apart involves the kids getting “bounced around from one house to the other” don’t appreciate that the standard parenting time arrangement in sole custody situations involves multiple transfers between the houses. Shared parenting can involve far fewer transfers if it’s planned well and the children have two homes, not one and another they visit. It’s (usually) nice if a kid’s bio-parents don’t separate but when they do, it comes down to this choice: is it more important to preserve the arrangement where the children have only one house or to preserve the arrangement where the children have *two* parents. I’ll go with preserving the true parent/child relationship with both parents every time that it can arranged.

    • quinncarolyn25

      In my experience, a manipulative parent (or lawyer) uses the “bounced around” argument at their own convenience. It doesn’t get mentioned if the change in routine is for this parent’s own convenience. Daycare, summer camp, and a host of other routine changers are “opportunities” while they consider time spent with the other loving parent as “upsetting.” It’s not just hypocrisy, it’s selfish cruelty.

    • Tim

      Lucky are those kids that get bounce back and forth and get equal time with both parents.
      Why is it automatically joint physical custody. This law is a start but really still giving mom custody why? It needs to joint custody and 50/50 parenting time period.
      Why allow the sexism to continue? If this happened in the workforce the eeoc would be all over it.
      Why is 40% satisfactory?

      • ANOTHERBOB

        Lucky is the child who lives with both bio-parents that were mature enough not to get divorced. Makes life so much easier for everybody.

  • Kdc

    So they throw in a bone on top of the bone they initially gave you? How about starting with 50/50 time? That should be the minimum. Sick of custody laws!

    • ANOTHERBOB

      50/50 time? The lucky child only has to be away from his/her friends half the time. On the postive side the stepparent only has to put up with someone else’s child half the time.

      • Don

        AnotherBob: Really, you should look into the research on parenting arrangements after divorce. Shared parenting is, on average, much better than sole custody and almost as good as growing up in an intact marriage. Research trumps intuitions. And, if you like case studies instead of data, I’ll provide my own. I had shared parenting of my three kids and they never went without their friends. They had some friends that lived closer to Mom and some that lived closer to me. But we always managed to get them to and from the friends houses that they wanted to visit and their friends had no problems getting to our house. Really, in a day when parents are running kids to soccer practice, the pool, ballet classes, music lessons, surely they can run the kids to a friend’s house. This needn’t be a problem in most cases.

      • Tim

        Bob, really?? That is such an old argument that it truly redicules. Which should flip it that men get full custody for the next 10 years and moms only get every other weekend. You would see a big up roar by congress about this.
        Studies show that 50/50 is best for the kids. That is what I have and kids are doing great.the kids have friends at both place.
        I can’t believe this argument about friends. So you are saying friends trump relaxation with a parent.i don’t think so.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        Tim: What I’m saying is that I was careful about my selection in a spouse, have a stable marriage, and have children who didn’t have to experience the trauma of seeing their parents get divorced in the first place.

      • Tim

        Nice thought another bob but that isn’t the real world and good for you. I thought I was careful she decided to have and affair and left me. So now my kids and i should be penalized because of her behavior. The world has changed bob time to chats with it.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        Yes Tim, sadley today’s moral values have changed …. for the worse. The real victims are the children who don’t get a proper education in how marriages are supposed to work from the parents.
        Ducks are better at selecting mates than many human beings.

  • ANOTHERBOB

    It must be comforting to a child to know that mommy or daddy has their stop watch out to make sure the other parent doesn’t get any more time with them than the judge allows. No wonder so many young people are so totally screwed up.

    • Don

      It’s really not about measuring out the time like you suppose. What’s important is that the children have “real parent/child time” with both parents. That means that one parent isn’t demoted to the every-other weekend and one dinner a week schedule that is more befitting of a favorite uncle/aunt than of a parent. Are some parents petty about keeping track of the time. You bet. My ex prevented me from taking my boys to their first major league ball game because the summer schedule meant that I needed to get them back one day before I’d planned and she wouldn’t trade any time to make it possible for the boys to go with me. She had no special plans. It was enough that it threw a monkey wrench into our plans. Separated parents can be petty. I don’t see that shared parenting exacerbates that; indeed, it tends to alleviate it because neither parent gets to think of themselves as the “boss parent.” It doesn’t eliminate it, of course (as I learned). But if you have a way to ensure that parents are never petty, let’s hear it.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        Lucky is the child who with bio-parents that were mature enought to work through the problems that every marriage encounters. That way neither parent gets demoted, and the children have the security that comes from knowing both theri parents will be there in the morning to greet them when they get up.

  • meena sharma

    It is really an appreciable decision to the father who is always get less time to meet his children due to feminist value of act. Children needs both support for overall devlopment in life.

  • ABC

    50/50 should be the absolute standard with no deviation except by agreement from parents or absolute proof (criminal standard) of unfitness. Leaving agreement to the parents doesn’t solve anything when you’re dealing with a possessive, financially-driven parent, most always the mother.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      How about aiming for 100/100. All it takes is a little maturity and commitment to the vows made at the alter.

  • Renee Globis

    Honestly, there should be no question about it. Because, there is a break up…it does not mean that a parent and child should be limited with the relationship with the child. The only way to encourage the best interest is to encourage accountability that each parent physically participates. Isn’t that what we try to teach children.

  • ANOTHERBOB

    Tips and Tricks for guys who don’t want to get divorced:
    #1 For heavens sake be choosy about the woman you decide to marry.
    #2 Nice girls don’t let you take them to bed before you take make your wedding vows.
    #3 The grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. You made vows ….. keep them!!
    #4 Take care of your wife like you would an orchid and work to keep her happy.

    Now fellows …… if you can’t follow those simple steps you should plan on shared custody of your kids.

    • Mrs.Hart

      You’re speaking to the wrong crowd Bob! Those your addressing are already going threw the nightmare. Heaven forbid your marriage falls apart and your children are taken from your everyday life and you have to fight your ex and the system you might have some understanding. You might have empathy. You unfortunately would rather judge what has already happened, that is not helpful nor kind. I can tell you from first hand experience that if this happened to you and you were a real man it would bring you to your knees. I pray you never have to experience the grief I also pray you can have more compassion.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        No Mrs.Hart. My empathy and sympathy are for the children who have one or more birth parents who were too selfish to make their marriages work, or who have a parent who thought it might be a good idea to cheat on their spouse.
        I’m still with wife #1, can trust her 100%, and she has a husband she can trust 100%.

        I have zero patience for spouses that cheat, or are unwilling to put the required effort into their marriages to make them work.

    • quinncarolyn25

      AnotherBob, you are so very right that we need to be more careful about marriage choices and upkeep, however in this thread is comes off as sanctimonious drivel and I’m going to explain that with 2 reasons why:
      1. Just because it has worked for you (so far) does not mean it will work for others. In 17 states we have no-fault divorce as the only option, while in 22 others, we have no-fault as an option. This means a spouse can choose to divorce us for whatever reason or for no reason. Or for an outright fictional reason! It is not necessarily in our control at all. By law.
      2. This thread is about justice regarding custody. You are talking to a community of people who have sustained great losses to their very core. They want a fair opportunity to be present in their childrens’ lives, which is important. But It is important beyond their own wants and needs, and it is important beyond their kids’ wants and needs, it is critical to the well-being of our society and it’s future.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        I’m talking about children who have to pay the price because they are stuck with parents that either made poor choices in selecting their spouses, or who were unwilling to pay the price to make their marriages work.

        Reminds me of the woman with a boyfriend who had a habit of sleeping with her little daughter from some other union and found that this pervert was taking pictures of the girl.

        So tell me Quinncarolyn25 – would that woman be a prime candidate for for a man looking for a lasting marriage?

      • quinncarolyn25

        Let’s focus then on what price the children are forced to pay: study after study shows children do best with frequent and open access to both parents. The court system, supposedly promoting the Best Interests of the Child, is actually supporting the best interest of whoever can pay the most cutthroat lawyer. You don’t fix the legal system by telling people not to get divorced. You enact laws that protect the innocents. So let’s do that.

  • ANOTHERBOB

    Yes, QUINNCAROLYN25, I agree with the studies that show a child living under the same roof as his or her bio-parents has a real advantage over children who have been put through the wringer as they witnessed their parents fighting and arguing.
    My sympathies to children with parents who were unable or unwilling to pay the price to make their marriages work.

  • ANOTHERBOB

    Parents make babies, get divorced, and then want to fight over their children like they are pieces of furniture. Ultimately it is the children who pay the price when they grow up and don’t have the skills their parents neglected to teach them on how marriages are supposed to work.

  • Harry J Shelhamer

    It’s obviously not a law from the way the article reads. The judge must be removed from the process. This law has no meat on the bone.

Comments are closed.