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First Substitute H.B. 230

Representative Mike Thompson proposes the following substitute bill:




Sponsor: Mike Thompson

             5      This act creates a requirement that divorced or separated parents provide a notice of
             6      relocation to the other parent before moving or leaving the state. The notice shall be
             7      signed and acknowledged by both parents.
             8      This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
             9      AMENDS:
             10          30-3-10.9, as enacted by Chapter 126, Laws of Utah 2001
             11          30-3-37, as last amended by Chapter 147, Laws of Utah 2002
             12      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             13          Section 1. Section 30-3-10.9 is amended to read:
             14           30-3-10.9. Parenting plan -- Objectives -- Required provisions -- Dispute
             15      resolution.
             16          (1) The objectives of a parenting plan are to:
             17          (a) provide for the child's physical care;
             18          (b) maintain the child's emotional stability;
             19          (c) provide for the child's changing needs as the child grows and matures in a way that
             20      minimizes the need for future modifications to the parenting plan;
             21          (d) set forth the authority and responsibilities of each parent with respect to the child
             22      consistent with the definitions outlined in this chapter;
             23          (e) minimize the child's exposure to harmful parental conflict;
             24          (f) encourage the parents, where appropriate, to meet the responsibilities to their minor
             25      children through agreements in the parenting plan rather than relying on judicial intervention;

             26      and
             27          (g) protect the best interests of the child.
             28          (2) The parenting plan shall contain provisions for resolution of future disputes
             29      between the parents, allocation of decision-making authority, and residential provisions for the
             30      child, and provisions addressing notice and parent-time responsibilities in the event of the
             31      relocation of either party. It may contain other provisions comparable to those in Sections
             32      30-3-5 and 30-3-10.3 regarding the welfare of the child.
             33          (3) A process for resolving disputes shall be provided unless precluded or limited by
             34      statute. A dispute resolution process may include:
             35          (a) counseling;
             36          (b) mediation or arbitration by a specified individual or agency; or
             37          (c) court action.
             38          (4) In the dispute resolution process:
             39          (a) preference shall be given to the provisions in the parenting plan;
             40          (b) parents shall use the designated process to resolve disputes relating to
             41      implementation of the plan, except those related to financial support, unless an emergency
             42      exists;
             43          (c) a written record shall be prepared of any agreement reached in counseling or
             44      mediation and provided to each party;
             45          (d) if arbitration becomes necessary, a written record shall be prepared and a copy of
             46      the arbitration award shall be provided to each party;
             47          (e) if the court finds that a parent has used or frustrated the dispute resolution process
             48      without good reason, the court may award attorney's fees and financial sanctions to the
             49      prevailing parent;
             50          (f) the district court shall have the right of review from the dispute resolution process;
             51      and
             52          (g) the provisions of this Subsection (4) shall be set forth in any final decree or order.
             53          (5) The parenting plan shall allocate decision-making authority to one or both parties
             54      regarding the children's education, health care, and religious upbringing. The parties may
             55      incorporate an agreement related to the care and growth of the children in these specified areas
             56      or in other areas into their plan, consistent with the criteria outlined in [Subsections]

             57      Subsection 30-3-10.7 (2) and [ 30-3-10.9 ] Subsection (1). Regardless of the allocation of
             58      decision-making in the parenting plan, either parent may make emergency decisions affecting
             59      the health or safety of the child.
             60          (6) Each parent may make decisions regarding the day-to-day care and control of the
             61      child while the child is residing with that parent.
             62          (7) When mutual decision-making is designated but cannot be achieved, the parties
             63      shall make a good faith effort to resolve the issue through the dispute resolution process.
             64          (8) The plan shall include a residential schedule which designates in which parent's
             65      home each minor child shall reside on given days of the year, including provisions for holidays,
             66      birthdays of family members, vacations, and other special occasions.
             67          (9) If a parent fails to comply with a provision of the parenting plan or a child support
             68      order, the other parent's obligations under the parenting plan or the child support order are not
             69      affected. Failure to comply with a provision of the parenting plan or a child support order may
             70      result in a finding of contempt of court.
             71          Section 2. Section 30-3-37 is amended to read:
             72           30-3-37. Relocation.
             73          (1) (a) When either parent decides to move from the state of Utah or 150 miles or more
             74      from the residence specified in the court's decree, that parent shall provide [reasonable
             75      advance] written notice of the intended relocation to the other parent. The written notice of
             76      relocation shall contain statements affirming the following:
             77          (i) the parent-time provisions in Subsection (5) or a schedule approved by both parties
             78      will be followed; and
             79          (ii) neither parent will interfere with the other's parental rights pursuant to court
             80      ordered parent-time arrangements, or the schedule approved by both parties.
             81          (b) Each parent shall sign the notice indicating agreement with the provisions before
             82      relocation may be made.
             83          (2) The court may, upon motion of any party or upon the court's own motion, schedule
             84      a hearing with notice to review the notice of relocation and parent-time schedule as provided in
             85      Section 30-3-35 and make appropriate orders regarding the parent-time and costs for
             86      parent-time transportation.
             87          (3) In determining the parent-time schedule and allocating the transportation costs, the

             88      court shall consider:
             89          (a) the reason for the parent's relocation;
             90          (b) the additional costs or difficulty to both parents in exercising parent-time;
             91          (c) the economic resources of both parents; and
             92          (d) other factors the court considers necessary and relevant.
             93          (4) Upon the motion of any party, the court may order the parent intending to move to
             94      pay the costs of transportation for:
             95          (a) at least one visit per year with the other parent; and
             96          (b) any number of additional visits as determined equitable by the court.
             97          (5) Unless otherwise ordered by the court, upon the relocation of one of the parties the
             98      following schedule shall be the minimum requirements for parent-time with a school-age child:
             99          (a) in years ending in an odd number, the child shall spend the following holidays with
             100      the noncustodial parent:
             101          (i) Thanksgiving holiday beginning Wednesday until Sunday; and
             102          (ii) the fall school break, if applicable, beginning the last day of school before the
             103      holiday until the day before school resumes;
             104          (b) in years ending in an even number, the child shall spend the following holidays
             105      with the noncustodial parent:
             106          (i) the entire winter school break period; and
             107          (ii) Spring break beginning the last day of school before the holiday until the day
             108      before school resumes; and
             109          (c) extended parent-time equal to 1/2 of the summer or off-track time for consecutive
             110      weeks. The week before school begins may not be counted as part of the summer period.
             111          (6) Upon the motion of any party, the court may order uninterrupted parent-time with
             112      the noncustodial parent for a minimum of 30 days during extended parent-time, unless the
             113      court finds it is not in the best interests of the child. If the court orders uninterrupted
             114      parent-time during a period not covered by this section, it shall specify in its order which parent
             115      is responsible for the child's travel expenses.
             116          (7) Unless otherwise ordered by the court the relocating party shall be responsible for
             117      all the child's travel expenses relating to Subsections (5)(a) and (b) and 1/2 of the child's travel
             118      expenses relating to Subsection (5)(c), provided the noncustodial party is current on all support

             119      obligations. If the noncustodial party has been found in contempt for not being current on all
             120      support obligations, he shall be responsible for all of the child's travel expenses under
             121      Subsection (5), unless the court rules otherwise. Reimbursement by either responsible party to
             122      the other for the child's travel expenses shall be made within 30 days of receipt of documents
             123      detailing those expenses.
             124          (8) The court may apply this provision to any preexisting decree of divorce.
             125          (9) Any action under this section may be set for an expedited hearing.
             126          (10) A parent who fails to comply with the notice of relocation in Subsection (1) shall
             127      be in contempt of the court's order.

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