Utah State Courts: Divorce Decrees and Co-Parenting During COVID-19

Utah State Courts have provided resources for individuals who are anticipating filing for divorce, in the process of divorce, or trying to figure out ways to best co-parent all while following state health guidelines and court orders.

Co-parenting during COVID-19:
Co-parenting is often the most challenging part of divorce and a crisis like the COVID-19
pandemic can amplify that stress. This is also a time that parents can acknowledge
concerns, collaborate, and adapt together to create new patterns of communication and
cooperation as it relates to the best interest of their child. To help with the co-parenting
process during the COVID-19 pandemic, guidelines were issued by the Association of Family
and Conciliation Courts, and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. You can
view these guidelines here.

Child Custody and COVID-19:
To understand the different types of custody agreements, visit the Utah State Courts
child custody website. Having joint physical custody can mean a temporary loss of control
and influence over the child while they are with the other parent and this can be a source
of anxiety for some parents. The pandemic amplifies this anxiety because of the risk
associated with the COVID-19 disease. Recognizing these are not usual times, parents
need to use their highest level of communication skills so that both sides are clear on
concerns for the child and expectations for managing the care of their child.

Navigating Co-parenting Social Distancing Practices:
There may be some differences in ways parents practice social distancing while managing
the child’s care during COVID-19. It is important that parents come to a mutual agreement
on the practices so that there is consistency and routine between households while obeying
court orders and local government mandates to keep themselves and others safe.
Follow the clear, expert guidance given by state and local authorities. Stay informed about
up-to-date social distancing practices for children, including playground use, in Utah by county
and city, by referring to Utah’s Health Guidance System.

Asking The Court To Enforce an Order:
If you have a court order or decree and the other party is not following some or all of it, you can
ask the court for a motion to enforce a court order. Required forms to file motions can
be found at the bottom of the motion for enforcement webpage and can be filed by email.
Please be aware the hearing may be online and the parties may have additional requirements for
parties residing in Third District Court.

Support and Resource Links:
2-1-1 Utah (statewide): Dial 2-1-1 www.211utah.org
Utah Courts’ Self-Help Center (statewide): email – selfhelp@utcourts.gov, text – 801-742-1898
call toll free- 888-683-0009 or https://www.utcourts.gov/selfhelp/contact/
Utah Legal Services (statewide): 801-328-8891 or https://www.utahlegalservices.org/
Utah Domestic Violence Coalition Hotline (statewide): 1-800-897-5465 or https://www.udvc.org/
Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake: 801-238-7171 or https://www.legalaidsocietyofsaltlake.org/divorce-custody