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Utah Legislature: House OKs bill to protect child visitation

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  • DontFeedtheTrolls Seattle, WA
    March 31, 2013 12:57 p.m.

    Just look up the term "narcissistic personality disorder" or "antisocial personality disorder". The offending parents, whether custodial or noncustodial, aren't hard to weed out once you're familiar with pathology. Make sure if you're getting divorced or putting together a parenting plan, that the wording doesn't leave any room for interpretation... you can include emergencies or other situations in parenting plan provisions. Your court order trumps all and even if you believe you get along fine, never underestimate a third-party's influence in a future co-parenting situation. I see all too often outside parties getting involved when they shouldn't --- whether it be an attorney, family member, or new dating parting. Make your court order air-tight "just in case".

  • Julie
    March 24, 2010 3:39 p.m.

    I wish this would have passed several years ago. I am a non-custodial mother and I have gone through nothing but hell. They squeeze every dime out of me for child support but I hardly ever got to see my children. Now ORS has gone a step further, my ex-husband kicked my daughter out of the house back in November. She just turned 18 and is staying with friends to finish her last year of school. Well I contact ORS and let them know she is no longer in the home and they told me that I would have to get a lawyer and take it to court. I can't afford to hire an attorney so when I asked if there was another option my case worker told me "just keep paying till she graduates, it's cheaper that way" This is a fine example of how screwed up the system really is.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:02 a.m.

    I have to say that I completely understand most of these statements. I extremely value the belief in knowing the importance the children really need the exact equal time with both parents to not be effected by a divorce and all the tension and stress caused by seperation from either parent. The only reason why a parent would not want joint or split custody is if they want a free income from the other spouse. The only exception to this rule would be if one of the parents was a danger to the child. Other then that you are hurting the children by not equally sharing parent time.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 16, 2010 12:32 p.m.

    It is so frustrating to have a court order for non custodial parents "rights" and having no one to enforce those rights. The only thing that is enforced is the non custodial parent's right to pay. Time and time again I have been denied visitation and the cops or court system does nothing. Currently my ex has moved over 150 miles away and has not given me an address so I can see my children. (I haven't seen them since Christmas) Where are my rights? It clearly states in my court documents that she can't move more than 150 miles away without the courts or my permission and she must provide notice and a visitation schedule but with no one to enforce this then she can take my kids from me and not let me know where they are.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 14, 2010 10:05 a.m.

    I understand that vindictive people, whether they are the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent, will use the system and hurt their own children in their desire to destroy the ex spouse. "Do as I say or I am calling the cops" described a situation that my children, and I, have lived with for over 5 years. With the current visitation guidelines and policy, a vindictive non custodial parent who still wants to hurt and control an ex-spouse can do so many things to hold on to the control and abuse they had during the marriage by using the children, and the current law protects them as they abuse. I have seen this situation go on and on and it hurts not only the custodial parent they are after, but tragically the chidren involved in the case.

  • Ken Pangborn
    Feb. 14, 2010 7:30 a.m.

    Utah's courts resist the notion of equal parenting which is a better soltion. No valid argument can be made for automaticly "giving" children to mothers as a reward for having given birth. A few of the comments betray a deep anti-father (anti-male) sentiment in the authors. Children need both parents That's a biological and psychological imperitive. Surely there are bad fathers out there,and there are also bad mothers. We can make it a contest or judge each case individually.

    Police really want to stay away from domestic disputes as much as they can. They need to be forced to deal with cases like these or they'll never step in.

    This should be for the kids not a turf contest between parents, it isn't about the "intrinsic rights of the custodial parent" (almost always the mother) it's about making a mechaniism to enforce the court orders. If the dad is bad, go back to court and prove it.

  • Custodial doormat
    Feb. 10, 2010 2:02 p.m.

    This bill will help some citizens and forcibly victimize others.

    Some won't help. They don't have to. They find jobs where they are paid under the table. They find willing ears to receive their sour stories about their ex-spouses. They are ungarnishable, untrackable, unenforceable people.

    They receive visitation in spite of no offering of assistance. They don't reveal their location, nor where the kids will be. They use the people supporting their kids and exes for personal gain, and turn them in to the authorities whenever possible.

    They don't maintain insurance on themselves or the kids, don't take care of the kids' medical, social, or community needs and responsibilities. Nothing stated or implied in the original marriage contract is apparently their responsibility regarding family.

    This bill won't solve the problem. It will only shift the power balance.

  • mrd00d
    Feb. 10, 2010 1:30 p.m.

    'Do as I say or I'm calling cops' said 'But the law already provides enforcement against those who intentionally obstruct visitation.' You are both correct and incorrect. Correct it's already in the criminal code & in the books, incorrect that the police do anything about it. Please hear the testimonies at the hearing for more details.

  • mrd00d
    Feb. 10, 2010 1:28 p.m.

    'Custodial parents can be fathers' : I want you to know that I wear all hats as a Parent. Custodial, Non-custodial & Step. I have 4 kids. I am definately not biased. I want to protect the kids & make sure the kids who need both Parents can have both Parents. Bottom line, keep your problems in check with your x's. Don't let the kids get hurt or be used as pawns by interfering with the relationship between Parent and child, because you harm the child the most, period.

  • A small win for non-custodials
    Feb. 10, 2010 1:27 p.m.

    Nice to have one for us non-custodial parents. The law is strongly slanted in favor of custodial parents. Thanks for a win for us for once.

  • Peaceful Non-Custodial
    Feb. 10, 2010 1:15 p.m.

    This bill is a step in the right direction for non-custodial parents. It took time to create a peaceful and cooperative relationship with my ex. I no longer have complaints in this regard.

    However, my review of divorce law and most anecdotal reports clearly favor the custodial parent. Even Rep. Fowlkes new bill on out of state parent time makes it more difficult for non-custodial parents. Nice to see someone sticking up for us for a change.

    This bill won't fix everyone's problems but after all the asinine bills before the legislature, it is nice to see one that actually helps kids and their parents.

    Thank you Rep. Wimmer.

  • So VERY True
    Feb. 10, 2010 10:32 a.m.

    " Being a noncustodial parent is like being escorted from the kitchen to the back porch and told to wait until someone remembers you're there,"

    It's great to know that someone knows how I feel.

  • erik
    Feb. 10, 2010 10:00 a.m.

    This all boils down to the KIDS VISITATION RIGHTS and to protect the kids from being denied the right to see the other parent weather the get along or not and that is what this bill is all about nothing else.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 10, 2010 9:46 a.m.

    I have mixed feelings on this bill. There are many parents whos only issue was they had a hard time communicating. I can see how this bill can help them enforce their parental visitation but what about the parent that has felonies against children? My ex has such felonies and because of state law I get to wait until he does it again before I can do anything about it. I can not limit or restrict his time because "he hasn't done anything" to this child yet (I won't even go into the emotional abuse that he likes to dish out!). How, as a parent, can I protect my child if the state ties my hands? There is only so much education I can give my child! My child is afraid of my ex, and I, as the custodial parent, must force the visitations on my child! I don't think that is right! My child deserves better than that!! My child deserves to be protected and to know that I will protect them from harm!

  • Re: do as I say
    Feb. 10, 2010 3:25 a.m.

    I didn't see one thing that was accurate in your comments. Clearly you don't understand this bill even in its most basic sense.

    To the person who stated there is already a law on the books, but it is not enforced. You asked how this bill will help.

    It will help for several reasons. First, it lowers the crime to a class B misdemeanor. Next, it provides no jail time unless it's a habitual offender. Third, it clarifies what is and what is not a crime (i.e. Emergencies, safety issues, unintentional missed time, etc. is not a crime).

    For these reasons, I believe judges will be more likely to be willing to convict and therefore police will be more willing to issue a citation to an offender.

    This is a good bill that is long overdue in Utah. UT has some of the worst protections for children when it comes to maintaining a relationship with their non-custodial families.

    The fact that mom and dad aren't married anymore does not mean that non-custodial parent is no longer family. Children deserve better than they are getting right now.

  • Read the Bill, Folks!
    Feb. 10, 2010 3:08 a.m.

    It is patently obvious that almost all of you have no idea what you're talking about (with all due respect).

    to address all your concerns:

    *The bill is NOT exclusive to protecting non-custodial parents only. It works both ways.

    *The bill provides for emergencies, safety issues, etc. You will not be charged if you Have a LEGITIMATE reason for bumping time. Note that complying with court orders being inconvenient for you is not legitimate.

    *the article states that it protects non-custodials is misleading. But the vast majority of offenders are CUSTODIAL parents.

    *there is existing law, but it's unenforcable. This bill fixes that.

    *to the person who said, "do as I say or I'm calling the cops:" no-- do as the COURT says, or I'm calling the cops. What's wrong with that? Obviously you don't have a clue at all. I stopped reading your rant after the third inaccuracy in your comment.

    This bill is a FANTASTIC bill that helps children see both parents. Many children haven't been allowed to see a parent for most their lives.

    Every complaint I've read on here is addressed in the bill already.

  • mrd00d
    Feb. 10, 2010 3:04 a.m.

    People, this law is not about putting people in jail who are trying to protect a child. It is about Parents who are constantly kept from children wrongfully. Examples of people dying or emergencies or danger posed to a child would not be a situation where a charge would be placed on anyone. This is for the people who HAVE court orders and are still not able to see the kids. This does not help with the ORS mess, that is something we hope to be able to resolve as well.

  • hanhuanheng
    Feb. 9, 2010 10:10 p.m.

    5 1/2 years - that's how long it's been for my brother to see his daughter. Never missed a payment, has gifts ready for her for
    Every birhtday and Christmas missed, been thru two lawyers, and is not any closer to seeing her
    Because her mom moves from state to state and avoids any contact at all - she just collects the money and keeps on going .
    Sounds pretty fair huh

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 9, 2010 9:28 p.m.

    RE: Do as I say or I'm calling cops
    "That's the problem that people don't understand and why this bill is so dangerous since it makes it a crime even in emergencies unless there is belief of child abuse which means abusive former spouses prevail."

    Actually I think the story makes it clear that the law is for "intentional disruptions". That would preclude emergencies, obviously. Thus my pointing out that the language needs to be extremely well written and specific, so as not to create these problems you point out. It's very clear that the system is frequently being abused by custodial and non-custodial parents alike all too frequently. If this law can redress some of the issues that the advocates of the law hope it can, then it could be a positive thing. If they don't walk a very fine line, it could be abused, as several people have expressed their alarm about.

    It's all about the language.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 9, 2010 9:16 p.m.

    RE: Do as I say or I'm calling cops

    The instances you bring up are why I made the specific point that the language would have to be worded extremely carefully. Let's face it, any parent can be vindictive and try to use custody issues to control the lives of others. Custodial or non-custodial makes no difference when it comes to the capacity for pettiness and selfishness. The point of a law like this is to take away some of the motivation to do so.

    Like any bill, it's effectiveness lies in how it is written, the language used, and the loopholes for abuse it leaves. I suspend judgement on whether the law is good or not until after I see the specifics of what it says. Unlike you, I do not dismiss it out of hand, sight unseen. You claim there are already laws, but if so then why does the abuse of the system continue? Obviously, if there is similar legislation already, then it's language is not as carefully written as I have mentioned it needs to be, or there would not be so much rampant abuse going on.

  • Jon
    Feb. 9, 2010 8:52 p.m.

    "This bill infringes on the most basic rights of custodial parents to ensure the safety of their children and to live their lives."

    A: Nope, the bill has a clause that covers the issue of safety for the children.

    "If no exceptions are made for emergencies, this could cause lots of custodial parents to be charged with crimes for things like having to stay late at work, medical emergencies, etc."

    A: Same as above.

    "What about custodial parents who are constantly pushing their children on the non-custodial parents because they never see the children on their scheduled time?"

    A: It works BOTH ways. If the noncustodial parent cry's to the police in this case, then they should expect to never see their kids during the custodial parents time. Yes, it is destined to happen... but they would be a stupid fool if they do.

  • Do as I say or I'm calling cops
    Feb. 9, 2010 8:47 p.m.

    Re:JJ

    "I find it interesting that so many people think only custodial parents can be vindictive. Non custodial parents are just as capable of being so. I understand the need for this bill but there needs to be some safeguards. This is life and schedules do not always run just as the court documents state. Parents have to work together and occasionally rearrange days."

    With this bill a vindictive non-custodial parent can strictly enforce the court order and even use it against their own children to force them to give up activities they enjoy as a way to demonstrate their power over them and their custodial parent and then use the time to blame the custodial parent by saying that they wouldn't arrange a different time and that is why the child couldn't go to their game or activity.

    "This could cause BIG problems in nasty custody battles when one or both parties are not above deceit."

    That's the problem that people don't understand and why this bill is so dangerous since it makes it a crime even in emergencies unless there is belief of child abuse which means abusive former spouses prevail.

  • Do as I say or I'm calling cops
    Feb. 9, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    Re:Anonymous

    "I think this legislation could be a very good thing to bring balance to what ORS does now..but only if worded very specifically and carefully so as to avoid abuse. I think the key here is that it provides enforcement against those who INTENTIONALLY obstruct visitation."

    But the law already provides enforcement against those who intentionally obstruct visitation. That isn't what these people want. They want to make it possible for non-custodial parents to control the lives of custodial parents and have the ability to call the cops on custodial parents who exercise their rights.

    "Emergencies will always arise. In a perfect world, no child would be used as a pawn be either parent, but we know in reality this happens often. And it only makes sense that custodial and noncustodial parents should have equal protection under the law."

    It's not equal protection when a custodial parent can't use an emergency as a legitimate excuse to take or withhold custody of their children and it instead gives non-custodial parents the ability to intimidate and harass custodial parents by using the provisions of law to harass.

  • Put Children First, Always
    Feb. 9, 2010 8:34 p.m.

    This is ten years too late for me. But better late than never for the sake of the newer generation of dysfunctional broken marriages. The custodial parent has too much freedom to abuse their "custodial rights". "If the parents can't agree then the custodial parent gets to make the decision". This is typical domestic law language and it is abused so much by the custodial parent that it is detrimental to the relationship of the child(ren) to the non-custodial parent. Yes, ORS goes after the dead-beats, and is totally justified, but there needs to be some type of consequence for the emotionally depleted custodial parents when they abuse this. It is all too frequent in this state and others that children are alienated from their non-custodial parent.

  • JJ
    Feb. 9, 2010 8:25 p.m.

    I find it interesting that so many people think only custodial parents can be vindictive. Non custodial parents are just as capable of being so. I understand the need for this bill but there needs to be some safeguards. This is life and schedules do not always run just as the court documents state. Parents have to work together and occasionally rearrange days. This could cause BIG problems in nasty custody battles when one or both parties are not above deceit. To all of you who "know someone" that's been in this situation remember...There are three sides to every story his, hers, and the truth.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 9, 2010 8:21 p.m.

    I think this legislation could be a very good thing to bring balance to what ORS does now..but only if worded very specifically and carefully so as to avoid abuse. I think the key here is that it provides enforcement against those who INTENTIONALLY obstruct visitation. Emergencies will always arise. In a perfect world, no child would be used as a pawn be either parent, but we know in reality this happens often. And it only makes sense that custodial and noncustodial parents should have equal protection under the law.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 9, 2010 8:15 p.m.

    Sorry to break the news to everyone, but we already have a criminal code its custodial interference 76-3-304, and its a class A misdemeanor for a parent, non custodial or custodial, to withhold or deprive another parent of lawful parent time. The problem is that most law enforcement agencies don't enforce the law, so how is this going to help?

  • Me
    Feb. 9, 2010 8:06 p.m.

    Apparently the previous comment was by someone who hasn't been a non-custodial parent. I have and I was "allowed" to see my kids approx. 10 times in 14 years. After several times of calling the police because I had one of those "orders" to see my kids, it became easier for me to just leave the state and have Recovery Services take the money. Take it from one who has been there that this bill is a long time over due.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 9, 2010 7:59 p.m.

    I have seen time and again the custodial parent walk all over the non custodial parents rights. My friend went 8 months without seeing his kids because the custodial parent wanted to get revenge. Custodial parents end up using kids as pawns and legislation needs to force custodial parents not to harm the kids and the non custodial parents constitutional rights to see their children.

  • Who are we helping with this?
    Feb. 9, 2010 7:57 p.m.

    What about custodial parents who are constantly pushing their children on the non-custodial parents because they never see the children on their scheduled time? So the custodial parent must always have the child there on time and at the scheduled time but the other parent is free to pick and choose when they use thier time and has the law on their side? Give me a break. It sounds more like bitter issued people are passing this law then the majority. Utah needs to focus on Dead beat parents mother or father who arent paying. ORS is just a waste of tax dollars, rarely do they ever go after the real dead beats that try to beat the system

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 9, 2010 7:56 p.m.

    Amen. I was a non-custodial mother enduring the same treatment as a typical non-custodial father in Utah. ORS will hunt you down for the money, but no one cares about your rights, or the children's rights, and whether they are being violated.

  • a weapon to cause chaos
    Feb. 9, 2010 7:55 p.m.

    If no exceptions are made for emergencies, this could cause lots of custodial parents to be charged with crimes for things like having to stay late at work, medical emergencies, etc.

  • Custodial parents can be fathers
    Feb. 9, 2010 7:41 p.m.

    This bill infringes on the most basic rights of custodial parents to ensure the safety of their children and to live their lives.

    A custodial parent, whether mother or father who was called into work at 5:00 am but only receives a call at 9:30 pm should be able to go to get their kids at 9:30 so they can put them to bed so they can get them up early in the morning to take to a babysitter even if the scheduled visit lasts until 10:00 pm.

    A mother who just got a call from her father that her mother was rushed to the hospital and is in ICU should be able to get her kids before the end of a scheduled parent-time so that she can ensure their safety while she is with her mother and to make sure her kids get to see their grandmother before she passes away 35 minutes later instead of ending up being taken to jail while her mother dies in a hospital.

    Godfrey's comment about ""Utah deserves better than to treat fathers as a paycheck to encourage meal-ticket motherhood," shows his bias.