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7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This bill adds an anti-discrimination clause to the custody statute.
10 Highlighted Provisions:
11 This bill:
12 . adds to the divorce statute a statement that the court may not discriminate against a
13 parent based on age, race, religious preference, or gender when deciding custody.
14 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
16 Other Special Clauses:
18 Utah Code Sections Affected:
20 30-3-10, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2010, Chapter 237
22 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
23 Section 1. Section 30-3-10 is amended to read:
24 30-3-10. Custody of children in case of separation or divorce -- Custody
26 (1) If a husband and wife having minor children are separated, or their marriage is
27 declared void or dissolved, the court shall make an order for the future care and custody of the
28 minor children as it considers appropriate.
29 (a) In determining any form of custody, the court may not discriminate against a parent
30 due to gender, race, religious preference, or age, but shall consider the best interests of the child
31 and, among other factors the court finds relevant, the following:
32 (i) the past conduct and demonstrated moral standards of each of the parties;
33 (ii) which parent is most likely to act in the best interest of the child, including
34 allowing the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent;
35 (iii) the extent of bonding between the parent and child, meaning the depth, quality,
36 and nature of the relationship between a parent and child; and
37 (iv) those factors outlined in Section 30-3-10.2 .
38 (b) The court shall, in every case, consider joint custody but may award any form of
39 custody which is determined to be in the best interest of the child.
40 (c) The children may not be required by either party to testify unless the trier of fact
41 determines that extenuating circumstances exist that would necessitate the testimony of the
42 children be heard and there is no other reasonable method to present their testimony.
43 (d) The court may inquire of the children and take into consideration the children's
44 desires regarding future custody or parent-time schedules, but the expressed desires are not
45 controlling and the court may determine the children's custody or parent-time otherwise. The
46 desires of a child 16 years of age or older shall be given added weight, but is not the single
47 controlling factor.
48 (e) If interviews with the children are conducted by the court pursuant to Subsection
49 (1)(d), they shall be conducted by the judge in camera. The prior consent of the parties may be
50 obtained but is not necessary if the court finds that an interview with the children is the only
51 method to ascertain the child's desires regarding custody.
52 (2) In awarding custody, the court shall consider, among other factors the court finds
53 relevant, which parent is most likely to act in the best interests of the child, including allowing
54 the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent as the court finds
56 (3) If the court finds that one parent does not desire custody of the child, the court shall
57 take that evidence into consideration in determining whether to award custody to the other
59 (4) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (4)(b), a court may not discriminate against a
60 parent due to a disability, as defined in Section 57-21-2 , in awarding custody or determining
61 whether a substantial change has occurred for the purpose of modifying an award of custody.
62 (b) If a court takes a parent's disability into account in awarding custody or determining
63 whether a substantial change has occurred for the purpose of modifying an award of custody,
64 the parent with a disability may rebut any evidence, presumption, or inference arising from the
65 disability by showing that:
66 (i) the disability does not significantly or substantially inhibit the parent's ability to
67 provide for the physical and emotional needs of the child at issue; or
68 (ii) the parent with a disability has sufficient human, monetary, or other resources
69 available to supplement the parent's ability to provide for the physical and emotional needs of
70 the child at issue.
71 (c) Nothing in this section may be construed to apply to adoption proceedings under
72 Title 78B, Chapter 6, Part 1, Utah Adoption Act.
73 (5) This section establishes neither a preference nor a presumption for or against joint
74 legal custody, joint physical custody or sole custody, but allows the court and the family the
75 widest discretion to choose a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child.
Legislative Review Note
as of 1-20-12 2:13 PM