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Which Visitation Schedule is Right?

Which visitation schedule is the right one for you and your child?

Which Visitation Schedule is Right

Visitation schedules are not “one size fits all”.

While each county has a local rule visitation schedule, these local rules are more of a guideline than a rule.  What this means is that each county must have a default schedule that the court considers as the least amount of time that the court generally awards to a fit parent.  This gives parents an idea regarding what to expect, and perhaps this will guide the parents toward agreement.

The schedule the court orders must be in best interest of the child.    Generally, Utah courts favor schedules that allow the child to see each parent frequently, especially when the child is very young.  The idea is that the child needs frequent contact with each parent to promote bonding.

So what if the local visitation schedule is not the ideal schedule for your child?  Although Ohio courts often rely on the county’s local visitation schedule as a “jumping off point” so to speak, the court (or the parents, by agreement) may alter the schedule in any way which is in the best interest of the child.  The term “local rule” is sometimes misleading – there is NO RULE which REQUIRES a court to order the local rule visitation schedule as your visitation schedule.  It is simply a guideline.  Usually Utah Code 30-3-33 is used.  You should review that law.

So if the local rule visitation schedule does not work for you, then what schedule should you ask for?  What schedule would work best for you and your child, and be fair to both parents?  In other States, Supreme Courts have posted publications on about how to handle parent time and living apart.  You read the fine print (under “Limitations of this Guide”, it says that the guide only represents the opinions of the authors, and is does not represent the legal opinion of the Courts of any lawyers.  The Introduction to the guide presents the guide as a “resource for the creation of sensible parenting time schedules”.  The Introduction goes on to say that the guide “fosters fair and creative parenting time schedules based on children’s developmental milestones and best interests”.

That guide has 14 parenting schedules to choose from.  The guide also discusses the author’s opinions regarding parenting time needs of children at different ages.

It is better to think of local rule visitation schedules as a floor, rather than a ceiling.  A fit parent is going to get AT LEAST that much parenting time, probably more.  It may not be that exact schedule – not every family has the same work schedule.  Some families work second or third shift, some families live several states apart.

Is my spouse entitled to 1/2 of my retirement when we divorce?

Retirement plans are often the most significant asset of a marriage, often worth even more than the couple’s house.  Therefore, people are naturally worried about what is going to happen to that asset when the couple divorces.

In Utah, all assets are presumed to be marital, and therefore subject to division, UNLESS the husband or wife shows that some of the asset is separate property.  With retirement assets, an experienced family law attorney can help you show the Court what portion of the retirement was yours before marriage, which is called tracing.  The attorney can then help you retain your separate property, leaving the rest of the retirement, the portion that was acquired during the marriage, subject to division in the divorce.

There are different ways to trace different kinds of accounts, and it may require the assistance of a financial expert to testify for the court to preserve your pre-marital interest in a retirement account, but it can often be done.

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will 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