Custody lawyers in Utah will tell you in the past few years there have been a lot of changes with respect to parent time arrangements. One of the biggest was the legislature’s enactment of Section 30-3-35.1, Utah Code Ann. Basically, this is an alternative minimum parent time schedule for non-custodial parents that results in the non-custodial parent getting 5/14 overnights. To put that in perspective, it is only 1 day per week short of equal parent time. Generally, if a non-custodial parent is able to facilitate this time and has a strong bond with the children, it is not unreasonable to expect he or she will get at least this amount of time.
Generally speaking, we would discourage clients from accepting anything less than 35.1 parent time, even if they have historically not provided the bulk of the care for the children. With that extra time, the Court is going to expect that you (not your new significant other, friend or family member) are the one providing the bulk of the care during parent time.
At Carr | Woodall, our family law attorneys understand both sides of the coin. We have clients who have been the primary caretaker for the children during the entire marriage and find it difficult agreeing to so much parent time. We understand. We also have clients who have primarily worked outside of the home and want to have significantly more parent time than the every other weekend and a mid-week visit. We understand that too.
It is not for your child custody lawyer to judge what you want but to advise you on realistic outcomes in your case. Additionally, during the temporary order phase, it is common for the Court to simply adopt the status quo the parties had during the marriage. This means early on in the divorce, one parent might be awarded sole physical custody. Generally, this is not a permanent outcome.