Grandparents rights in Utah

Grandparents rights in Utah are a contentious issue as they are in every state. Of course, as everywhere many people in Utah believe that family is the most important thing in life. Families bring happiness and grief to individuals living in Ogden, Salt Lake, Provo, St. George, and the rest of Utah.

The importance of families contributes to the reason why there is so much emotion in family law issues such as child custody.  Because of the importance of families in individuals’ lives, the Utah State Legislature has recognized that family members besides a mother and father have certain visitation rights concerning children.

The state legislature has specifically recognized the importance of a grandparent in a child’s life by allowing a grandparent to have standing before a court to enforce visitation rights with a grandchild.

Since 2005, the Utah law has allowed grandparents the right to bring an action in a Utah district court to petition the court for visitation rights.  In a pending divorce or other child custody battle, a grandparent may file a petition for visitation rights.  There is a presumption that a parent’s decision concerning grandparent visitation is in the child’s best interest.

A court may, however, overrule this presumption if the grandparent has rebutted the presumption based on different relevant factors considered by the court such as the loss of a relationship between the child and the grandparent is likely to cause harm to the grandchild.

grandparents rightsEven if a child is adopted by a step-parent, a visitation order will not be altered or diminished merely because of the adoption. A grandparent’s visitation rights will still be valid and enforceable. When considering the visitation rights of a grandparent, the court may inquire of the child what he or she wants and will often take into account the child’s desires regarding visitation.

If your visitation rights are being threatened by a pending divorce or other child custody issues you need to be more informed. Get a copy of my comprehensive grandparents rights book No Greater Loss. After that, once you understand the issues better you may wish to consult an attorney. Utah has many that can aid you in obtaining your grandparents rights.

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