In addition to the minimum statutory parent time schedule set forth at Utah Code 30-3-35, Utah law provides for so-called “advisory guidelines.” These are intended to supplement and govern the parties’ parent-time arrangement. There are 18 such guidelines.
They include many things that might be considered common sense, but which contain a lot of wisdom. For example, the first guideline states that “parent-time schedules mutually agreed upon by both parents are preferable to a court-imposed solution.” Often the temptation is to lose sight of the fact that the parents themselves in the best position to determine what works for their own schedules. Court-imposed solutions should be a last resort. Thus, parents need to engage in the hard work of co- parenting and communicating in a business like fashion with each other regarding the best interests of their children, even post-divorce.
There is also guidance for making allowance for major family events such as weddings, funerals, family reunions, religious holidays, etc.
The guidelines address pick and drop off of the children for parent-time, but do not specify which parent should be responsible for the pickup and drop off. Rather the guidelines simply specify that regardless of which party provides the transportation, the other parent shall have the child ready for pick up and shall be present to receive the child or make alternative arrangements for drop off. Sometimes it makes sense for the parents to agree that each will provide the transportation when they are receiving the child for his or her parent-time.
There are provisions that allow a Court to take the parties’ work schedules into account in modifying the statutory parent-time schedule.
There are provisions that specify the custodial parent shall provide the non-custodial parent with notices relating to school events, social functions, sporting events, or community functions with at least 24 hours notice so the other parent can attend.
Each parent is supposed to notify the other within 24 hours of an change of address or telephone number.
Each parent should allow reasonable telephone contact and virtual parent-time to supplement in person parent time.
Neither parent should withhold parent time or child support due to the other parent’s failure to comply with a court ordered parent time schedule.
Parental care is presumed preferable to surrogate care, so the non-custodial parent, if willing and able, should be allowed to provide care for the children before any third care provider.
These advisory guidelines are found at Utah Code 30-3-33. In my opinion, they should be reviewed and referred to often by divorcing parents.
This material should not be construed as legal advice for any particular fact situation, but is intended for general informational purposes only. For advice specific to any individual situation, an experienced attorney should be contacted.