Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Child custody on weekends and weekdays for kids 5 to 18

A Utah couple ending a marriage is difficult enough before considering the children involved. This is particularly true when the children are of school age between 5 and 18. The state has taken steps with legislation to make certain that there are specific criteria in place regarding custody. The best interests of the child and the parents maintaining a relationship with children are of paramount importance, and this must be understood when the order is made.

When parents do not come to an agreement for parenting time, there is a minimum schedule that the noncustodial parent and the child will have. The noncustodial parent will have the child for one weekday evening that he or she will specify or will be specified by the court. If there is not a day specified, it will be Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It can also be from the time the child is dismissed from school until 8:30 p.m. When there is no school, the weekday can be from 9 a.m. through 8:30 p.m. provided it adheres to the work schedule of the parent. This cannot be changed unless the parties agree or there is a court order.

For weekends, the parents will have the child on alternating weekends from 6 p.m. Friday until 7 p.m. Sunday. For the noncustodial parent, it can be from the time of school dismissal on Friday to 7 p.m. on Sunday. If there is no school, it can begin at 9 a.m. on Friday and go through 7 p.m. on Sunday, contingent on the parent's work schedule.

Stepparents, grandparents or other responsible adults who are designated by the noncustodial parent can pick the child up provided the custodial parent is aware of the person's identity and the noncustodial parent will be with the child by 7 p.m. Snow days, teacher development days and other days when there is no school and are linked to the weekend can be considered weekend days.

These agreements are different from child custody on holidays and how that is arranged. For parents who have parted ways, maintaining a regular schedule of contact is important, especially with a child who is still in school. For help with these issues, enforcing a child custody order and more related to custody, a qualified attorney can be of help.

Source:, "30-3-35. Minimum schedule for parent-time for children 5 to 18 years of age.," accessed on Jan. 3, 2017

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