Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Utah passes new law aimed at reducing sole custody

One of, if not the most important things in Salt Lake City residents' lives is their children. Salt Lake City parents give their all to their children and cannot imagine life without them. This love and commitment toward one's children can make a divorce particularly difficult, as one of the most contentious issues often involves a child custody dispute.

A new law recently went into effect in Utah that could change the way custody disputes are handled in court. The law encourages courts in the state to award child custody in a more equal manner.

Proponents of the new law believed the old system resulted in sole custody arrangements that may not have been best for the family. Accordingly, they believe the new law will help by increasing a child's time that is spent with both parents. Currently, noncustodial parents spend about 110 days per year with the child, but proponents of the new law believe it will increase the time to about 145 days per year.

It remains to be seen what immediate effect the new law will have on custody disputes. For instance, it is unclear whether courts will begin awarding joint custody on a much more frequent basis than may currently happen.

It is fairly certain, however, that whatever generalizations may exist, they cannot always be applied to each individual case. Each custody decision will ultimately depend on the facts and circumstances at issue. Accordingly, while parents should understand how the change in law may affect their case, they should also understand what facts and circumstances will be important in their case.

Source: KUER, "New law seeks custody equality for divorce cases," Andrea Smardon, May 19, 2015

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