Custody and Modification

Question

For the first 9 months after the divorce, I had the three children 100%. In the family home, same schools, etc. Ages 12, 15 and 16 almost 17. She has now moved 1200 away with new family, new baby, etc. The Stipulation states must be with-in 300 miles. Once again, I have the kids full time including all costs. She pays nothing. As stated above, I have the final say with kids as I’m the primary on the decree as I’m the one that filed. How do I go about gaining full custody and what are the odds?

Answer

When a parent-time order is already in place, as you have, there is a simple process for you to change that when a parent moves. You do not have to file a Petition to Modify to get the parent time changed in this situation. Under Utah Code Ann Section 30-3-37, any interested party can file a motion for a new parent time order when one of the parents moves more than 150 miles away from the other parent. You should consult an attorney to help you. This motion makes sense for you to do even though you already have the children most of the time by virtue of her move.

You have a good chance of continuing your situation because the court generally likes to continue the situation the children are in. A court can change custody under this limited proceeding without a petition to modify if it finds the change to be in the best interests of the children. The court should require there to be an evidentiary hearing on this motion because a change of custody is at issue. See viz. Taylor v. Elison, 2011 UT App 272, 263 P.3d 448. Even with an evidentiary hearing this motion is much cheaper and faster than a Petition to Modify because you do not need to go through discovery and the longer trial setting process. You should consult my blog below as a checklist to make sure you are requesting all of the things you need in your order on the issues to apply to your case.

Cameron JohnsonCustody and Modification