During this time of year I get a lot of calls regarding parent-time and what each parent is entitled to over Christmas vacation. Some custody agreements spell out holiday visitation, especially if it’s a joint custody arrangement. If you are unable to decipher what your custody order says, contact me and I’m happy to go through it with you at no charge. If it’s ambiguous or poorly worded we may need to contact your ex and see if we can come to an agreement as to new wording. If the two of you can’t agree on something then we may need to go to mediation or even court to get it resolved (side note, if you are in the process of figuring out custody make sure the custody provision is clear and well-worded, don’t count on figuring it out as you go or down the road).
Utah Code § 30-3-35
Many custody orders refer to Utah Code § 30-3-35 for holiday visitation. This is the code section that spells out the recommended minimum visitation for the non-custodial parent in sole custody cases, but many joint custody cases use this code section for purposes of determining holiday visitation because it saves you from having to recreate the wheel so to speak.
With the relatively recent ruling on the legality of gay marriages from the U.S. Supreme Court, I have met with a lot of clients looking to adopt their spouse’s child or children. Previously it was very difficult for a gay couple to adopt because they didn’t meet the rather stringent requirement of marriage (particularly in Utah). Now that gay marriage is allowed in all states, couples are able to marry and therefore can qualify for an adoption. However, they still have to meet the criteria.
Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights
This is by far the easiest route to go when it comes to a step-parent adoption. If the biological father or mother is willing to sign a relinquishment of parental rights half the battle is over before we even begin. The nice thing about these voluntary relinquishments is they are “non-retractable”. In other words, once a parent signs a voluntary relinquishment they cannot change their mind later. The Courts do this in order to ensure that a child is not faced with the confusion and instability of a parent coming in and out of the child’s life. Imagine the scenario where a child is adopted and then his or her biological parent shows up and suddenly wants to be part of the child’s life again. Not only can this be difficult for the child to deal with, or even comprehend, but it can undermine the adoptive parent’s role as the father or mother of that child.
Jared B. Pearson is an experienced attorney that has been litigating in Utah for over 9 years. Jared specializes in family law, bankruptcy, and criminal defense.
Call for a free consultation today:
9192 South 300 West,
Sandy, Utah 84070