Grandparents play an important role in many families and sometimes even significantly contribute to raising their grandchildren. But when parents divorce or separate, grandparents may end up spending less time with their grandkids.
Fortunately, Utah lawmakers enacted the Visitation Rights of Grandparents Act in 2005 to provide grandparents with visitation rights to see their grandchildren. However, Utah Code § 30-5-2 contains a general presumption that a parent’s decision regarding grandparent visitation is in the best interests of the child.
Therefore, a grandparent seeking visitation must overcome this presumption by proving to the court that he/she has filled the role of caregiver or custodian to the grandchild in a manner similar to a parent and the loss of the grandchild-grandparent relationship would substantially harm the child, or both parents are unfit and their incompetence would cause potential harm to the child.
If the court determines that the grandparent overcomes the general presumption, a judge will decide whether grandparent visitation is in the child’s best interests. Common factors the court will consider include the reasoning behind the parent’s decision to deny visitation, the grandchild’s age, the death of a parent, a parent that has been missing for an extended period of time, the grandchild’s desires (if he/she is at least 14 years of age).
If the court finds that grandparent visitation is in the grandchild’s best interests, the grandparent(s) will be issued a visitation order. Lastly, if a grandchild is adopted by a stepparent, a grandparent’s visitation rights remain.
If you are interested in obtaining grandparent visitation in Salt Lake City, contact Nelson, Taylor & Associates PLLC today at (801) 901-7046 and schedule a free consultation today. Let our legal team guide you through the legal process.