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Nebeker v. Orton, 2019 UT App 23 (Feb. 14, 2019)

Feb 14, 2019

In this appeal from an award of parent-time to a non-custodial parent, the Court of Appeals held that the lower court exceeded its discretion by awarding only minimum parent-time to an appellant father under the schedules in Utah Code §§ 30-3-35 and 30-3-35.5.  While the statutory parent-time schedules are “presumed to be in the best interests of the child,” the court cannot simply default to minimum parent-time without explanation.  Instead, the court must articulate a rationale for awarding only minimum parent-time that is consistent with its factual findings.  Because the lower court failed to reconcile its award of minimum parent-time with findings indicating the father was entitled to additional parent-time, a remand was necessary to reevaluate the judgment.