A few months back, the Utah State Legislature wrapped up its regular session. And yes, they passed a few bills that impact family law. The next ten posts will discuss the top ten new laws and talk about their impact on family law, in reverse order.
No. 10. Cohabitant Definition (HB 227). In the past, one of the definitions of a “cohabitant” for purposes of obtaining a protective order was someone who “has” children with the other party. This law added language to include persons who “had” children with the other party.
My take: I found it difficult to imagine that a judge would ever deny a protective order on the grounds that the parties used to have children together but no longer do. I wondered if there was a story behind this legislation or if the Representative who sponsored the bill was just reading through the statute and said, “Hey, that doesn’t seem right! What about those people who HAD children together but don’t any more.” So, I checked out the video of floor debate. Apparently, people who have had their children removed by DCFS, or placed for adoption, or the children have passed away have been denied protective orders. Go figure!