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David R. Hartwig, Esq.
Family Law & Divorce
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Thanksgiving parent-time (visitation) – 2016

Thanksgiving is approaching. This is a time for family and children. Unfortunately, it is also a time of disputes between parents.

In Utah, unless there is a written agreement in place, statute controls.  That statute is: § 30-3-35, Minimum schedule for parent-time for children 5 to 18 years of age, Utah Code. That statute states, in part:
•    In years ending in an even number, the noncustodial parent is entitled to the following holidays:
◦    Thanksgiving holiday beginning Wednesday at 7 p.m. until Sunday at 7 p.m.

Even in decrees, or orders, of joint custody, one parent should be designated at the “non-custodial parent” for purposes of the parent-time statute. Check your orders.

Parents can, and should cooperate on those schedules, to accommodate extended family traditions, and religious activities. But, make sure that you have a writing, signed by both parents, in place, which clearly sets out dates and times if they differ from what is in the decree or orders.

And remember, the holiday is a time for family and the children. It is not a time to assert parental differences, or claims. In Utah, it is said that the child is very important, and needs protection from divorce and conflict. So, do the best you can to exceed the spirit, if not the letter, of that saying; and let us all truly enjoy the best of this holiday.

If there is conflict or problems, get with your attorney, or consider having a special master appointed.

I am David R. Hartwig, Esq., a Salt Lake City attorney with extensive experience helping parents resolve simple or high-conflict custody issues reaching arrangements that work for children and parents. Child custody involves parent-time and visitation schedules, and can affect support. I help in all of these areas, providing comprehensive service clients need to achieve their custody goals.

Factors In Child Custody Decisions

As an experienced Utah child custody lawyer, I understand that custody cases may become a contentious issue even years after an order is finalized. The trend in Utah toward joint custody often creates messy, unworkable situations, which ultimately lead to enforcement issues when parents do not abide by their custody orders.

The best interests of the child must be considered, including:

• Whether joint legal or physical custody will benefit the child’s physical, psychological and emotional needs, or the child’s development

• The parents’ ability to give first priority to the child’s welfare, and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest

• Whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent

• Whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce

• The distance between the parents’ homes

• The parents’ maturity and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents

• The parents’ ability to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly

• Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping

• Any other factors the court finds relevant

Despite the complicated and sensitive nature of custody matters, I have helped many clients successfully establish custody orders.

Get Help With Your Child Custody Issue

If you have a child custody issue, please contact me, David R. Hartwig, Esq. I am an experienced Salt Lake City custody lawyer dedicated to helping clients resolve complex custody issues and implement necessary custody orders. For high-conflict cases, I am also one of the few Utah child custody modification attorneys trained as a Special Master for ongoing dispute resolution.

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