Custody Factors from Other States

Jun 22

I recently read an article which explained how parent-time schedules are handled in Utah.  I am going to list the factors considered there, because I believe that they are good, "common-sense" factors that can benefit parties here in South Carolina and everywhere.

The parent-time schedule is considered to be the minimum parent-time to which the noncustodial parent and the child shall be entitled, unless a parent can establish otherwise by a preponderance of the evidence that more or less parent-time should be awarded based upon any of the following criteria:

  1. parent-time would endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development;
  2. the distance between the residency of the child and the noncustodial parent;
  3. a substantiated or unfounded allegation of child abuse has been made;
  4. the lack of demonstrated parenting skills without safeguards to ensure the child’s well-being during parent-time;
  5. the financial inability of the noncustodial parent to provide adequate food and shelter for the child during periods of parent-time;
  6. the preference of the child if the court determines the child to be of sufficient maturity;
  7. the incarceration of the noncustodial parent in a county jail, secure youth corrections facility, or an adult corrections facility;
  8. shared interests between the child and the noncustodial parent
  9. the involvement of the noncustodial parent in the school, community, religious, or other related activities of the child;
  10. the availability of the noncustodial parent to care for the child when the custodial parent is unavailable to do so because of work or other circumstances;
  11. a substantial and chronic pattern of missing, canceling, or denying regularly scheduled parent-time;
  12. the minimal duration of and lack of significant bonding in the parents’ relationship prior to the conception of the child; (m) the parent-time schedule of siblings;
  13. the lack of reasonable alternatives to the needs of a nursing child; and
  14. any other criteria the court determines relevant to the best interests of the child.

Source:  "Parent Time Schedules" by Gregory W. Stevens, published at his Utah Divorce & Family Law Blog.

Posted on 22 June 2007 Posted in Child Custody

2 Responses to Custody Factors from Other States

anon • July 3, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Why do you think parent time should be adjusted if an UNFOUNDED allegation of abuse has been made? Unless you mean adjusted against the parent (assuming one parent made the unfounded accusation against the other) I don’t understand the reasons why a false allegation should disrupt the children’s lives at all.


R Gaylord • January 27, 2009 at 9:59 pm

The courts favor custody be given to the primary care giver when the primary care giver won’t agree to do so and for no other reason than they don’t want to.
I would like to propose a joint custody solution even when the primary care giver objects as follows:
Assuming both parents are fit and have equal interests in the children it is in the best interests of the children to have their parents 100%.
Due to parents living separately the next best is for the children to have them as much as possible and equally, this means 50-50 custody in all matters or as close to it as you can get. I’ve received 100% agreement from every attorney I’ve talked I’ve talked with that this is the optimal position in the best interests of the children, “if the parties can agree to it.”
Why is 50-50 custody the best solution for the children?
1) It most closely mirrors their life with both parents.
2) The children are 50-50 of both parents and those parts in are indistinguishable from each other.
3) It is not in the best interests of the children to treat either parent unequally because to diminish either parent is to diminish the child because again, they are equally of there parents. One position clearly supports the other.
Physical custody has no arguments about disagreements because you can’t argue about physical custody after the court order. It is clear and other than one parent or the other not supporting it there is nothing to argue about other than one party denying the other their rightful time, but this is no different from what currently exists therefore adds NOTHING to the negative and a great deal of positive.
Legal custody should be 50-50 also but in discrete non overlaying parental decision areas which will take the argument out of the “if the parties can’t agree” position as there is nothing to jointly decide thus argue about.
For example some areas are medical, educational, extra-curricular to name a few.
These areas needing parental deliberation support the equality of parents for the well being of the children, just like 50-50 physical custody.
The objection emergency events needing immediate attention would be compromised just because the child is with the parent without medical custody does not apply if simple guidelines are included. For example if a parent had the area of medical decisions this would not prohibit the other parent from seeking medical attention in an emergency just like emergency medical attention is commonly given at any place and time and by anyone present, not just by the parents. The guidelines should also exclude life and death decisions such as the termination of life support which should be a joint and unanimous decision by both the parents.
All other areas requiring decisions concerning the children are largely non critical and easily divided equally but separate between the parents.
The outcome is there is nothing to argue about which is why joint custody agreements fail while maintaining the principle the parents are equally important in the children’s lives and neither parent should be diminish within what is reasonably accomplished due to separation caused by the divorce in the first place.
Any and all Family Law Attorneys, please give me your critical evaluation of what I’ve proposed, namely areas I’ve over looked needing additional consideration.
Thank you.


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