Let’s say you live in Maine (I know, no one lives in Maine, it’s just an example), and your daughter and soon-to-be ex live in Salt Lake.
First, let me say sorry. Getting divorced is hard enough. Getting divorce while living apart from a child is double hard.
So, in a situation where you’re living in a different state than your daughter, what kind of paren-time can you expect to get?
Ultimately, the answer is “it depends,” but we can pin it down pretty close.
Honestly, time is going to be pretty limited by the simple fact kids are in school so much it’s hard to get big chunks of time for visitation during the school year. Summer is a different deal, and we’ll talk about that in a minute.
During the Utah school year, there are four extended vacations times that allow for out-of-state travel for visitation:
- Spring break
- Fall break (a.k.a., UEA weekend)
Since you’ll trade off between Christmas and Thanksgiving (you only get one of those holidays per year) and spring and fall breaks, you’ll probably have visitation twice during the school year.
The total visitation time during school is around 2-3 weeks. It’s not very much, and that’s by design. Courts don’t let kids miss school.
Summer parent-time is usually straightforward: everyone gets half the summer.
Summer is approximately 90 days, so an out-of-state parent would get around 45 days (around 6 weeks).
Something to keep in mind: usually, your child will need to be back home at least a week before school starts.
In the end, if you live outside Utah, you’ll probably get about 60-70 days of parent-time per year.
So, who pays transportation costs for parent-time?
Usually, the parent who lives outside Utah pays the majority of those costs. The exception to this is summer — parents share summer visitation travel costs evenly.
Everything I’ve said above is based on a couple things: (1) Utah law on out-of-state visitation, and (2) what Utah courts normally do. It just so happens that (2) is very similar to (1).
The Utah law I’m referring to is Utah Code Annotated, Section 30-3-37.
If you would like to read it (and I suggest you do), click here.
P.S.: Everything I’ve said above also applies if you don’t have primary custody of your child and you move away from Utah.