Happy Mother & Daughter

Many States grant fathers and mothers each 50% of custody time, including Nevada, Colorado, and other States near Utah. But, Utah ranks much lower in the number of cases in which courts grant fathers and mothers equal custody time. The current research data on custody time granted to fathers offers the best available information on the percentages of court decisions granting child custody to mothers in Utah and nationwide. 

Here is some data highlighting the wide disparity in the percentages of custody time awarded to mothers vs. fathers in Utah and throughout much of the country.

Political Influence in Child Custody Decisions

The national average of parent time awarded to fathers is only 35%, which means that mothers are awarded custody about 65% of the time. Overall, courts throughout the country appear to break along political lines when it comes to custody decisions. Research indicates that 22% of conservative States grant equal custody time between parents as their standard, compared to 40% of liberal States that award parents 50/50 shared custody.

While fathers in liberal States are awarded nearly 37% of custody time, on average, in the most politically conservative States, divorced fathers are granted only around 32% of the parenting time. The percentage is much lower in Utah, with an average of just over 26% of custody time awarded to fathers, which means 74% is awarded to mothers. This ranks Utah #37 of the 50 States in the amount of custody awarded to fathers. Tennessee ranks even higher in the percentage of custody time granted to mothers.

What Do Custody Time Statistics Mean in Real Life?

For perspective, in States that divide custody equally between parents, like Florida, for example, fathers can spend 100 additional days per year with their children than fathers living in a State like Tennessee, where a much higher percentage of custody time is allocated to mothers.

  • In Florida, with 50% of the parenting time, both mothers and fathers have around 182.5 days per year with their children.
  • In California, at 32.8% of parent time allocated to fathers, that means dads have around 120 days per year with the kids, while moms have around 245 days per year with them.
  • In Tennessee, at just over 21% parenting time for dads, men have around 80 days per year with their children and moms have about 285 days.
  • In Utah, our state of interest, at about 26% of parenting time, dads have about 95 days, which means moms have around 270 days per year with the children.

National Child Custody Research

The States’ percentages of custody calculated for the national study reportedly represent only cases in which the two divorcing parents both want child custody and in which there are no complicating issues. For example, the statistics do not include circumstances in cases involving a history of domestic abuse, or criminal convictions, or divorced parents living long distances apart. The data for each state reflects only the most common parent-time schedules awarded to noncustodial parents.

The data provided above is from a recent study conducted by Custody X Change, a company that produces software to help in managing parent time. The research includes custody award data gathered from interviews with legal professionals in each State, according to Custody X Change. No customer data was utilized in the research study.

National Trend Toward Equal Parent Time

Utah is not the only state in recent years to shift toward awarding divorced fathers more parent time. In 2017 alone, legislatures in 20 States (about 40%) considered changes of laws to promote greater sharing of parenting between divorced parents, according to a Washington Post report (2017). Further, the Custody X Change research reportedly found that around the same number of States as in 2017 (40%) continue to have objectives of granting both parents in a divorce equal time with the children.

Law Office of David Pedrazas, PLLC, Salt Lake City, Utah

Attorney David Pedrazas is a child custody lawyer and a recognized leading authority on family law in Utah. He has been helping parents through the difficulties of divorce and child custody disputes for over 20 years. David Pedrazas is one of the top child custody attorneys in Utah. He has been awarded by professional associations including the National Academy of Family Law Association, the American Academy of Trial Attorneys, and the American Institute of Family Law for his outstanding work as a Salt Lake City divorce attorney.

For help with your child custody or child support case, feel free to call the Law Office of David Pedrazas, PLLC, Salt Lake City UT anytime, or use our online contact form to schedule a review of your legal case.

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