Download Zipped Introduced WordPerfect HB0398.ZIP
[Status][Bill Documents][Fiscal Note][Bills Directory]

H.B. 398





Chief Sponsor: LaVar Christensen

Senate Sponsor: David L. Thomas

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill allows for the modification of joint custody orders and creates specific
             10      requirements to do so.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    allows a parent to file a motion for termination of joint custody under specific
             14      circumstances;
             15          .    sets conditions for the court to consider in modifying a joint custody order;
             16          .    requires that parents participate in a dispute resolution proceeding; and
             17          .    requires the court to make specific findings when modifying or terminating a joint
             18      custody order.
             19      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             20          None
             21      Other Special Clauses:
             22          None
             23      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             24      AMENDS:
             25          30-3-10.3, as last amended by Chapter 126, Laws of Utah 2001
             26          30-3-10.4, as last amended by Chapter 142, Laws of Utah 2005

             28      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             29          Section 1. Section 30-3-10.3 is amended to read:
             30           30-3-10.3. Terms of joint legal custody order.
             31          (1) Unless the court orders otherwise, before a final order of joint legal custody is
             32      entered both parties shall attend the mandatory course for divorcing parents, as provided in
             33      Section 30-3-11.3 , and present a certificate of completion from the course to the court.
             34          (2) An order of joint legal custody shall provide terms the court determines
             35      appropriate, which may include specifying:
             36          (a) either the county of residence of the child, until altered by further order of the court,
             37      or the custodian who has the sole legal right to determine the residence of the child;
             38          (b) that the parents shall exchange information concerning the health, education, and
             39      welfare of the child, and where possible, confer before making decisions concerning any of
             40      these areas;
             41          (c) the rights and duties of each parent regarding the child's present and future physical
             42      care, support, and education;
             43          (d) provisions to minimize disruption of the child's attendance at school and other
             44      activities, his daily routine, and his association with friends; and
             45          (e) as necessary, the remaining parental rights, privileges, duties, and powers to be
             46      exercised by the parents solely, concurrently, or jointly.
             47          (3) The court shall, where possible, include in the order the terms of the parenting plan
             48      provided in accordance with Section 30-3-10.8 .
             49          (4) Any parental rights not specifically addressed by the court order may be exercised
             50      by the parent having physical custody of the child the majority of the time.
             51          (5) (a) The appointment of joint legal custodians does not impair or limit the authority
             52      of the court to order support of the child, including payments by one custodian to the other.
             53          (b) An order of joint legal custody, in itself, is not grounds for modifying a support
             54      order.
             55          (c) The [agreement] order shall [contain] require a parenting plan incorporating a
             56      dispute resolution procedure the parties agree to use:
             57          (i) in accordance with Section 30-3-10.9 , or as ordered by the court in accordance with
             58      Subsection 30-3-10.2 (5); and

             59          (ii) before seeking enforcement or modification of the terms and conditions of the
             60      order of joint legal custody through litigation, except in emergency situations requiring ex parte
             61      orders to protect the child.
             62          Section 2. Section 30-3-10.4 is amended to read:
             63           30-3-10.4. Modification or termination of order.
             64          (1) On the motion of one or both of the parents, or the joint legal custodians if they are
             65      not the parents, the court may, after a hearing, modify or terminate an order that established
             66      joint legal custody if:
             67          (a) the circumstances of the child or one or both parents or joint legal custodians have
             68      materially and substantially changed since the entry of the order to be modified; [and]
             69          (b) a modification of the terms and conditions of the order would be an improvement
             70      for and in the best interest of the child[.]; and
             71          (c) (i) both parents have complied in good faith with the dispute resolution procedure
             72      in accordance with Subsection 30-3-10.3 (5)(c); or
             73          (ii) if no dispute resolution procedure is contained in the order that established joint
             74      legal custody, the court orders the parents to participate in a dispute resolution procedure in
             75      accordance with Subsection 30-3-10.2 (5) unless the parents certify that, in good faith, they
             76      have utilized a dispute resolution procedure to resolve their dispute.
             77          (2) (a) In determining whether the best interest of a child will be served by either
             78      modifying or terminating the joint legal custody order, the court shall, in addition to other
             79      factors the court considers relevant, consider the factors outlined in Subsection 30-3-10.2 (2).
             80          (b) A court order modifying or terminating an existing joint legal custody order shall
             81      contain written findings that:
             82          (i) a material and substantial change of circumstances has occurred; and
             83          (ii) a modification of the terms and conditions of the order would be an improvement
             84      for and in the best interest of the child.
             85          (c) The court shall give substantial weight to the existing joint legal custody order
             86      when the child is thriving and well-adjusted.
             87          (3) The court shall, in every case regarding a motion for termination of joint legal
             88      custody order, consider reasonable alternatives to preserve the existing joint legal custody order
             89      in accordance with Subsection 30-3-10 (1)(b). The court may modify the terms and conditions

             90      of the existing joint legal custody order in accordance with Subsection 30-3-10 (5) and may
             91      order the parents to file a parenting plan in accordance with this chapter.
             92          [(2)] (4) A parent requesting a modification from sole custody to joint legal custody or
             93      joint physical custody or both, or any other type of shared parenting arrangement, shall file and
             94      serve a proposed parenting plan with the petition to modify in accordance with Section
             95      30-3-10.8 .
             96          [(3) The order of joint legal custody may be terminated by order of the court if one or
             97      both parents file a motion for termination and the court determines that the joint legal custody
             98      order is unworkable or inappropriate under existing circumstances. At the time of entry of an
             99      order terminating joint legal custody, the court shall enter an order of sole legal custody under
             100      Section 30-3-10 . All related issues, including parent-time and child support, shall also be
             101      determined and ordered by the court.]
             102          [(4)] (5) If the court finds that an action under this section is filed or answered
             103      frivolously and in a manner designed to harass the other party, the court shall assess attorney's
             104      fees as costs against the offending party.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-2-06 8:13 AM

Based on a limited legal review, this legislation has not been determined to have a high
probability of being held unconstitutional.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

[Bill Documents][Bills Directory]