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Senate bill would give youth a say in divorce proceedings

Published February 7, 2013 12:29 pm

SB18 • The proposal would lower to 14 the age when children are old enough to have a voice.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Children who are 14 years or older would be allowed to have input on which parent they want to live with during a divorce proceeding under a bill that passed the Utah Senate on Thursday.

Currently, a child has to be at least 16 years old for a judge to consider the child's wishes.

Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, sponsored SB18, which lowers the age when children are old enough to provide input on the decision.

During debate on the bill earlier in the week some senators argued that children should not have to make a difficult decision of choosing a parent and said parents could manipulate the child and use the leverage during the divorce proceeding.

"It's probably the worst time in their life to make the most important decision they've ever made up until that time," argued Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem. "This is just very heavy, unfair decision-making being placed on such young people."

The bill passed the Senate 23-2, and moves to the House for consideration.

Robert Gehrke