DRAPER, Utah – A new law is leveling the playing field between divorced parents.
The new law gives a parent who does not have custody of their child equal rights to time with their child.As of Tuesday, both parents could get to spend equal time with their children.
Advocates say, traditionally, family courts awarded sole custody to one parent usually the mother, about 80 percent of the time.
Under House Bill 35, a judge could grant a non-custodial parent more time with their child.
So that means a child’s midweek visit becomes an overnight visit and a weekend visit to mom or dad’s ends Monday morning, instead of Sunday evening.
Advocates are praising Utah lawmakers for leading the charge on shared parenting legislation.
“The number one thing that both parents and children want together with their children after a divorce or separation is simply more time together,” Dan Deuel said, National Parents Organization of Utah Chair.
Now both parents must agree to the conditions and it’s granted by a judge if they feel like both parents are involved in the child’s life.
There is some concern that a non-custodial parent who hasn’t been there for the child for years, can just show up and is entitled to the maximum time.
Judges said they will take that into account and may deny the request.