The fall is upon us, yet again. Halloween is approaching and separated, divorce, or unmarried parents want to know who will have their children for the holiday, and for how long. Halloween is not necessarily a "legal" holiday, so there may well be questions about how that day is handled. What you need to look at is your decree of divorce, or custody orders, to see what it says. In Utah, there are statutes that address visitation, or parent-time; and, those statutes do state what holidays are considered and how they are handled. And, Utah does recognize Halloween as a holiday for purposes of parent-time. The pertinent Utah statutes are 30-3-35, 30-3-35.1, and 30-3-35.5. But, be aware. Your decree or custody order may take precedence over statute; it could give additional holiday time, or take it away. So, look to your divorce decree, paternity orders, or custody orders to see what it says first. If you have any doubts, or questions, get together with an experienced family law attorney to review your papers, and help you learn now exactly what your rights are, rather than waiting until Halloween.
I've been reading quite a number of posts on various family law or divorce groups calling for state or federal statutory joint-legal custody mandate, containing provisions very similar to full equal time with the children for both parents. Those claims have been touted variously as: recognition of father's rights, equal protection under the law, fantastic steps forward, recognition that our divorce system is broken, and a panoply of cures for all that ails children in divorce.
What are Fathers' Rights in Divorce or Paternity in Utah? The Utah Supreme Court says that, if all things are equal, there is no preference for the mother. But from my experience, the courts often seem to not make all things equal. So, you have more of an uphill battle if you want to fight for anything like equal custody. Custody and Parent-time
Many people contact me to learn about options in divorce (or after), and receive answers to their "what if's", but then don't want to pursue the matter. Such things as knowing that there are problems with visitation (Changing visitation), child support (Changing Support), or custody, and you know that the other side is complaining, or making threats about the problem.
The Utah Court of Appeals has again addressed this issue, in a new case, Kielkowski v. Kielkowski http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=14449128863980745795&hl=en&as_sdt=6&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr, or http://law.justia.com/cases/utah/court-of-appeals-published/2015/20130225-ca.html)
CUSTODY, PARENT-TIME, and VISITATION: