Questions regarding parent time (visitation) can arise in many types of actions, including divorces, adoptions, and paternity matters. Parent time is related to physical custody and specifies the amount of time the child spends with their parents. Joint physical custody can but does not necessarily mean the parents share equal time with the child; instead, joint physical custody simply means the child spends at least 111 nights with each parent during the year. If a parent is awarded over 254 nights with the child, then they have sole physical custody of the child.
Consult with our Salt Lake County visitation attorneys if you are facing a dispute regarding parenting time. Based in South Jordan, Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC is happy to review your case and help you move forward. Call (801) 515-4133 now to get started.
Primary Caretaker Factor
Many factors are used to determine how parent time is allocated. One of the most important factors relates to who has been the child’s primary caretaker. The primary caretaker has a strong argument that the child should spend more time with them. Although Utah courts are prohibited from using a party’s gender as a basis for making custody determinations, the fact that Utah has so many stay-at-home moms means that mothers often prevail when seeking primary or sole physical custody.
The noncustodial parent, even if not granted physical custody, has certain rights that must be protected. Utah’s custody statutes provide the noncustodial parent with a minimum amount of parent time unless other factors show this would not be in the best interests of the child. Generally, a parent’s behavior must be egregious for a court to terminate parental rights or order less than the minimum parent time. In cases involving an abusive or erratic parent, courts have the option to order supervised parent time if in the child’s best interests.
Custody and parent time are two of the most important components of the parenting plan that should be part of the final decree. However, many other parenting concerns should also be addressed. A well-drafted parenting plan should describe in detail the rights and obligations of the parties, involving everything from transportation of the children to healthy communication between the parents. The goal of the parenting plan is to keep the parties on the same page and enhance their ability to co-parent and avoid conflict in the process.
Consult with Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC
Custody and parent time decisions are some of the toughest issues addressed during family law disputes. At Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC in South Jordan, our Salt Lake County visitation attorneys work hard to provide our clients with candid and diligent representation during this emotional process.
Count on strong representation – call us at (801) 515-4133 for a consultation.
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