Child and parent standing in front of a lake.

Custody Arrangements for Parents in Different States

Dealing with living arrangements after a separation can be difficult enough, but when a parent lives in another state, it makes things even more complex. However, the team at Pearson Butler is here to help you understand your options and what you can do if your current arrangement isn’t working.

Physical Custody

Oftentimes its not possible for parents to live near each other. Utah Code Ann 30-3-37 provides a minimum parent-time schedule for when parents live more than 150 miles apart. Under this statute, a parent who intends to relocate more than 150 miles from the other parent with the children, must provide 60 days advance written notice of the intended move. A party may request a hearing with the court to review the relocation and parent-time. While the 60 day notice is what the statute requires, a recent case from the appellate court requires a Petition to Modify to be filed when the parents have joint physical custody and one of the parents wants to relocate with the child(ren). This new development in the law makes it much more difficult for a parent to move long distance when the original order provides for joint physical custody.


The schedule in U.C.A. 30-3-37 is a minimum schedule and is usually only applied for children over the age of 5. When the child is younger, more frequent, shorter visits are appropriate. With the increased distance between the parents, virtual parent-time becomes even more important for maintaining the relationships. Sometimes an activity, such as reading a book together during the virtual time, helps to make the visits more structured, especially when children run out of things to talk about.


Increased transportation costs accompany increased distance. The parties can work together to determine who will bear the burden of increased costs, but if the court addresses the issue, usually the parent who moved away is responsible for the bulk of the cost.

If you’re interested in more information on how to strengthen or modify your custody case, reach out to the Pearson Butler team today. Fill out this form to schedule a consultation, or give us a call at (800) 265-2314 to get started.