Grandparent Rights in Utah

Grandparent rights in Utah can be tricky. It involves constitutional rights of parents and best interests of a child(ren). Below we have included the law on the subject so that if you want to do further research you can start there. The family law attorneys at Arnold Wadsworth & Coggins offer a free consultation in order to assess your rights and how to move forward on the case whether you are the grandparent or the parent of the child(ren). Call (801) 475-0123 or fill out the form on this page.

U.C.A. 1953 § 30-5-2

  • 30-5-2. Visitation rights of grandparents

Effective: May 12, 2020

Currentness

(1) In accordance with the provisions and requirements of this section:

(a) a grandparent has standing to bring an action requesting visitation in district court by petition; and

(b) a grandparent may file a petition for visitation rights in the juvenile court or district court where a divorce proceeding or other proceeding involving custody and visitation issues is pending.

 

(2)(a) In accordance with Section 62A-4a-201, it is the public policy of this state that a parent retains the fundamental right and duty to exercise primary control over the care, supervision, upbringing, and education of the parent’s children.

(b) A court shall presume that a parent’s decision in regard to grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the parent’s child.

(3) A court may find the presumption in Subsection (2)(b) rebutted if the grandparent, by clear and convincing evidence, establishes that:

(a) the grandparent has filled the role of custodian or caregiver to the grandchild that:

(i) is in a manner akin to a parent; and

(ii) the loss of the relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild would cause substantial harm to the grandchild; or

(b) both parents are unfit or incompetent in a manner that causes potential harm to the grandchild.

 

(4)(a) If the court finds the presumption in Subsection (2)(b) is rebutted, the court may consider whether grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the grandchild.

(b) If the court considers whether grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the child, the court shall take into account the totality of the circumstances, including:

(i) the reasonableness of the parent’s decision to deny grandparent visitation;

(ii) the age of the grandchild;

(iii) the death or unavailability of a parent; and

(iv) if the grandchild is 14 years old or older, the grandchild’s desires regarding visitation after the court inquires of the grandchild.

 

(5) If the court finds the presumption in Subsection (2)(b) is rebutted and grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the grandchild, the court may issue an order for grandparent visitation.

 

(6) The adoption of a grandchild by the grandchild’s stepparent does not diminish or alter visitation rights previously ordered under this section.

 

(7) On the petition of a grandparent or the legal custodian of a grandchild the court may, after a hearing, modify an order regarding grandparent visitation if:

(a) the circumstances of the grandchild, the grandparent, or the custodian have materially and substantially changed since the entry of the order to be modified, or the order has become unworkable or inappropriate under existing circumstances; and

(b) the court determines that a modification is appropriate based upon the factors set forth in Subsections (3) and (4).

 

(8) A grandparent may petition the court to remedy a parent’s wrongful noncompliance with a visitation order.

Written by Arnold Wadsworth Coggins

Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins Attorneys is a premier Utah law firm serving the Wasatch Front in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, criminal law, and civil litigation. Our attorneys provide clients with exceptional legal representation and personal attention. With over 35 years of trial practice and litigation experience, we bring big firm expertise at affordable rates