ST. GEORGE — Divorced dads in Republican-majority states receive significantly less custody time than those in Democrat-majority states and swing states, according to a new study.
Divorced fathers in red states get about 32.1 percent of parenting time, according to the study released Tuesday by Custody X Change. Utah is even lower, with divorced fathers in the Beehive state getting an average of 26.2 percent of custody time. The nationwide average is 35 percent, according to the study.
Dads in blue states got on average of 36.6 percent in custody time. However, fathers in swing states got the highest amount of custody time with 40.2 percent.
Many states gave fathers 50 percent of the custody time, including several surrounding Utah – Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. Twenty-two percent of red states give equal custody time as a standard, compared to 40 percent of blue states and 59 percent of purple states.
The least generous state for custody time for fathers was Tennessee, according to the study. Utah was ranked No. 37.
The research was conducted over a four-month period by talking to legal professionals in every state to find out what the most commonly awarded schedule is. There were more than one thousand emails and hundreds of phone calls, according to Custody X Change. Although Custody X Change is a business for parenting schedules, no customer data was used in the study.
The purpose of the research was to show the differences between states in custody time for fathers and “affect the dialog taking place as states consider changing custody laws,” Custody X Change president Ben Coltrin said.
“Custody schedules are detailed and complex, which makes them hard to compare,” Coltrin said. “However, it’s easy to see the state-by-state differences once you have a percentage for every state. … States that don’t currently award equal custody may increase time for dads once they see what’s happening across the country.”
While custody time for fathers may be low in Utah, divorce rates in Utah are also slightly higher than the average. According to the Utah Department of Health, the Utah divorce rate was at 3.6 out of 1,000 Utahns in 2015, while the rate for the entire nation was 3.1.
A bill passed by the Utah legislator this year that addressed child custody made it so in split-custody cases, the parent with the majority of the time with the child could make decisions about the home residence of the child and where the child would go to school. In split custody cases where the parents share custody equally, the court would make those decisions.
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