There are many major decisions that parents in Utah need to make if they go through a divorce. They need to separate the life that they shared during their marriage into two separate lives. They need to separate their physical home, money, possessions and their time with their children. The parents will no longer be living with each other, and the children will need to spend time with each parent separately.
The parents usually need a parent-time schedule that states when the children will be with each parent. There can be many different types of schedules depending on the circumstances of the parents. However, some parents will have an equal parent-time schedule. As of 2021, a new statute outlines the court’s factors when determining whether equal parent-time is appropriate.
The factors include, but are not limited to:
- Each parent’s activity in their children’s lives – each parent’s responsibility for caring for children; their involvement in school and extracurricular activities; their involvement in meals, bathing, and putting the children to bed; and other relevant factors.
- Each parent’s ability to facilitate an equal schedule – how close the parents live to each other; their ability to provide after-school care; employment schedules; the layout of each parent’s home; their ability to spend playtime with children; and other relevant factors.
- Whether it is in the children’s best interest.
If equal parent-time is ordered or agreed to by the parents, they will follow the schedule outlined in the statute unless otherwise agreed to by the parents. This schedule states that the children will be with one parent on Monday and Tuesday, and with the other parent on Wednesday and Thursday. The parents would alternate weekends from Friday to Monday morning.
There are many options for parent-time schedules in Utah. If the parents cannot agree on a parent-time schedule, the court will determine whether an equal parent-time schedule is appropriate and state the schedule. These are very fact-specific matters, and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.