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H.B. 88

             1     

CUSTODY AMENDMENTS

             2     
2012 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: Ryan D. Wilcox

             5     
Senate Sponsor: Aaron Osmond

             6     
             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:
             15          None
             16      Other Special Clauses:
             17          None
             18      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             19      AMENDS:
             20          30-3-10, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2010, Chapter 237
             21     
             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
             25      consideration.
             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
             55      appropriate.
             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
             58      parent.


             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


Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


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