Utah Code 30-3-37: Relocation
1. For purposes of this section, “relocation” means moving 150 miles or more from the residence of the other parent.
2. The relocating parent shall provide 60 days advance written notice of the intended relocation to the other parent. The written notice of relocation shall contain statements affirming the following:(a) the parent-time provisions in Subsection (5) or a schedule approved by both parties will be followed; and(b) neither parent will interfere with the other’s parental rights pursuant to court ordered parent-time arrangements, or the schedule approved by both parties.
3. The court shall, upon motion of any party or upon the court’s own motion, schedule a hearing with notice to review the notice of relocation and parent-time schedule as provided in Section 30-3-35 and make appropriate orders regarding the parent-time and costs for parent-time transportation.
4. In a hearing to review the notice of relocation, the court shall, in determining if the relocation of a custodial parent is in the best interest of the child, consider any other factors that the court considers relevant to the determination. If the court determines that relocation is not in the best interest of the child, and the custodial parent relocates, the court may order a change of custody.
5. If the court finds that the relocation is in the best interest of the child, the court shall determine the parent-time schedule and allocate the transportation costs that will be incurred for the child to visit the noncustodial parent. In making its determination, court shall consider:
a. the reason for the parent’s relocation;
b. the additional costs or difficulty to both parents in exercising parent-time;
c. the economic resources of both parents; and
d. other factors the court considers necessary and relevant.
6. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, upon the relocation, as defined in Subsection (1), of one of the parties the following schedule shall be the minimum requirements for parent-time for children 5 to 18 years of age:
a. in years ending in an odd number, the child shall spend the following holidays with the noncustodial parent:
(i) Thanksgiving holiday beginning Wednesday until Sunday; and
(ii) Spring break, if applicable, beginning the last day of school before the holiday until the day before school resumes;
b. in years ending in an even number, the child shall spend the following holidays with the noncustodial parent:(i) the entire winter school break period; and(ii) the Fall school break beginning the last day of school before the holiday until the day before school resumes;
c. extended parent-time equal to 1/2 of the summer or off-track time for consecutive weeks. The children should be returned to the custodial home no later than seven days before school begins; however, this week shall be counted when determining the amount of parent-time to be divided between the parents for the summer or off-track period; and
d. one weekend per month, at the option and expense of the noncustodial parent.
7. The court may also set a parent-time schedule for children under the age of five. The schedule shall take into consideration the following:
a. the age of the child;
b. the developmental needs of the child;
c. the distance between the parents’ homes;
d. the travel arrangements and cost;
e. the level of attachment between the child and the noncustodial parent; and
f. any other factors relevant to the best interest of the child.
8. The noncustodial parent’s monthly weekend entitlement is subject to the following restrictions.
a. If the noncustodial parent has not designated a specific weekend for parent-time, the noncustodial parent shall receive the last weekend of each month unless a holiday assigned to the custodial parent falls on that particular weekend. If a holiday assigned to the custodial parent falls on the last weekend of the month, the noncustodial parent shall be entitled to the next to the last weekend of the month.
b. If a noncustodial parent’s extended parent-time or parent-time over a holiday extends into or through the first weekend of the next month, that weekend shall be considered the noncustodial parent’s monthly weekend entitlement for that month.
c. If a child is out of school for teacher development days or snow days after the children begin the school year, or other days not included in the list of holidays in Subsection (6) and those days are contiguous with the noncustodial parent’s monthly weekend parent-time, those days shall be included in the weekend parent-time.
9. The custodial parent is entitled to all parent-time not specifically allocated to the noncustodial parent.
10. In the event finances and distance preclude the exercise of minimum parent-time for the noncustodial parent during the school year, the court should consider awarding more time for the noncustodial parent during the summer time if it is in the best interests of the children.
11. Upon the motion of any party, the court may order uninterrupted parent-time with the noncustodial parent for a minimum of 30 days during extended parent-time, unless the court finds it is not in the best interests of the child. If the court orders uninterrupted parent-time during a period not covered by this section, it shall specify in its order which parent is responsible for the child’s travel expenses.
12. Unless otherwise ordered by the court the relocating party shall be responsible for all the child’s travel expenses relating to Subsections (6)(a) and (b) and 1/2 of the child’s travel expenses relating to Subsection (6)(c), provided the noncustodial parent is current on all support obligations. If the noncustodial parent has been found in contempt for not being current on all support obligations, the noncustodial parent shall be responsible for all of the child’s travel expenses under Subsection (6), unless the court rules otherwise. Reimbursement by either responsible party to the other for the child’s travel expenses shall be made within 30 days of receipt of documents detailing those expenses.
13. The court may apply this provision to any preexisting decree of divorce.
14. Any action under this section may be set for an expedited hearing.
15. A parent who fails to comply with the notice of relocation in Subsection (2) shall be in contempt of the court’s order.
Relocation after Divorce
Many women consider relocation after divorce as a way to put their divorce behind them and make a fresh start somewhere new. But moving out of state can present problems if there are minor children from the marriage and both parents aren’t in agreement concerning the move.
Arguing for Relocation
One of the most common issues that comes up after a custody order is in place is relocation. There are lots of reasons you might want to relocate at some point: remarriage, a new job, a change of scenery, or to be closer to family. A move can be good for you and for your kids. The problem is that a move will affect your parenting plan. If your ex has visitation every other weekend and you move 500 miles away, your current plan isn’t going to work. Understandably, your ex is likely to be upset by the idea of the relocation and may take steps to prevent you from going.
Going Back to Court Over Relocation
There are two ways you can end up back in court about relocation. The parent who wants to move away may file for a modification of the existing custody order to request permission for the move and a new visitation plan. The parent who is staying put can file seeking to prevent the other parent from taking the kids and going.
Preparing for a Relocation Hearing
If you and your ex cannot reach an agreement about the move (and I highly recommend you try mediation before you hash this out in court), you’ll have a hearing and the judge will decide if you are allowed to move with your children. The main question in the mind of the court is whether the move is in the best interests of the children. Will moving bring a better quality of life, a more stable environment, a better experience, and a parent who is better able to support and parent them? When you’re getting ready for the hearing, you want to focus on putting together evidence and information that will persuade the judge:
• The move will create a more stable financial situation for the family. If you or your new spouse has a new job that requires the move, be prepared to offer evidence about the new salary and benefits and how that will improve the family’s situation. Some parents relocate so that they can move in with family and save on living expenses and babysitting costs. If this is the case, show how much you will save and how it will benefit the family.
• You are moving to get married. This is common reason for a move, but you have to be careful to offer more than just the marriage as a reason. Maybe this will mean a better home, more support, a family unit, improved finances, and a positive change for the family.
• A better support system is available at the new location. If you are living in a place where you have very little family, moving to where your family is can be a positive move for your kids. Be prepared to discuss how much family is at the new location and how they will be able to support and assist you. Offer evidence about your children’s relationships with their relatives so it is clear there are close ties.
• You’re moving for a change of scenery and fresh start. Sometimes after a messy divorce or break up, a fresh start is what you feel you need. This can be positive for the entire family, but you have to be careful not to present this as a need to put some distance between you and your ex. Moving to get away from your ex is generally not considered beneficial for your children. Instead, be prepared to show how the new location will improve your life. Maybe there are better jobs or educational opportunities there, or better medical facilities for your children. Put together all the positive factors you possibly can to present to the court.
Relocating With Children During Divorce
At least clients can come into my office and declares that he or she has made the decision to relocate and to take the children of the marriage with them to a different state. The justification for the move is not always the same. Some clients want to move because they have received a job offer in a different state, others want to relocate to be with a new significant other, many clients want to relocate to be near their family members, and others can only justify their desire to relocate by explaining that the grass has to be greener somewhere else. If you are considering relocation with children during separation or after divorce, don’t pack your bags and rent a moving truck just yet, there are several factors to consider.
Courts will carefully consider how the children will benefit from the proposed move. If there is little or no benefit for the child from the move, it is less likely that the court will allow relocation. For example, are there unique or better educational options, will the children be closer to extended family, or are there more opportunities for those particular children to grow and flourish where the moving parent wants to relocate?
Terms Used In Utah Code 30-3-37
• Attachment: A procedure by which a person’s property is seized to pay judgments levied by the court.
• Entitlement: A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans’ compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
• Month: means a calendar month, unless otherwise expressed.
Utah Divorce Code Lawyer
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