Summer Parent-time in 2021
Summer is coming up. Do you know who gets your kids and when?
Under the Utah standard parent-time schedule, if your child is five years or older the noncustodial parent gets four consecutive weeks over the summer when school is not in session, including weekends normally exercised by the noncustodial parent. Two of these weeks are “uninterrupted time” meaning the noncustodial parent gets the child all to him/herself during that time. During the other two weeks the custodial parent gets midweek parent-time but not weekends. However the state holiday schedule still supersedes summer parent-time.
The custodial parent in turn gets to pick two weeks they get uninterrupted time.
Parents are expected to notify each other when they want to exercise their extended parent-time vacation weeks with their child at least 30 days before the school year ends (although some decrees may use a specific date as the deadline like May 1st). Generally if a parent fails to pick their summer time by this deadline the other parent gets to pick for them. (This does not mean the other parent gets to decide that the noncomplying parent does not get summer extended time; only that they get to pick when it happens). Sometimes court orders will provide a process for determining which parent’s selection is entitled to priority if they both want the kids on the same dates.
Because 2021 is an odd-numbered year, the default schedule gives the noncustodial parent July 4 (beginning at 6 p.m. the day before the holiday until 11 p.m. or no later than 6 p.m. on the day following the holiday at the option of the noncustodial parent). The custodial parent gets Memorial Day (beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday until Monday at 7 p.m. unless the holiday extends for a lengthier period of time to which the custodial parent is completely entitled) and Utah Pioneer Day (beginning at 6 p.m. on the day before the holiday until 11 p.m. or no later than 6 p.m. on the day following the holiday, at the option of the parent exercising the holiday).
If your child is less than five years old then other special rules may apply. For children older than 3 but less than 5 years old, the noncustodial parent’s 4 weeks of extended parent-time gets broken into two 2-week segments separated by at least four weeks. For children 18 months to less than 3 years old, the noncustodial parent gets two 1-week periods of extended parent-time separated by at least four weeks, one of which is uninterrupted, and the custodial parent gets 1 week of uninterrupted parent-time. There are no extended parent-time rules for children less than 18 months old.
If you are following the Utah out-of-state parent-time schedule typically the noncustodial parent will receive 1/2 of the summer or off-track time for consecutive weeks. The children need to be returned to the custodial home no less than seven days before school begins but this time is counted in determining the total amount of summer parent-time to be divided between the parents. And typically the cost of transporting the children for summer parent-time is equally shared between the parents.
If your summer plans involve out-of-state travel then you are generally required to let your co-parent know for emergency contact purposes and provide: (a) an itinerary of travel dates, (b) destinations, (c) places where the child or traveling parent can be reached, and (d) the name and telephone number of an available third person who would know where the child is at.
If your decree allows for telephone/Skype/Facetime/Zoom or other forms of “virtual” parent-time then normally extended parent-time does not trump those rules. But if you are going to be somewhere with limited telephone/internet access it is a good idea to let your co-parent know and reschedule the calls for a time when you will be back in range of phone service.
This is general advice based on the standard provisions in the Utah Code. If your Utah custody order says something different, you should follow what is in your order.
Do you have questions about summer parent-time or is your ex not following the rules? If so give the attorneys at Wiser Family Law a call at 855-254-2600