Family Law and Grandparents’ Visitation
Grandparents often play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren but issues with their own children, divorce, or separation can create obstacles that prevent them from being able to spend time with their grandchildren. In other circumstances, parents may be unfit to care for their children, leaving grandparents to seek custody of their grandchildren.
Family law grants rights to many grandparents and in some cases may help them obtain visitation rights with their grandchild or even custody. At Froerer & Miles, our attorneys provide family law and grandparents’ rights services to those in Ogden, UT, Layton, UT, and surrounding areas and can help you in your time of need.
Grandparents’ Rights and Visitation
Under Utah law, grandparents have visitation rights but these rights come second to a parent’s rights. This means that parents have primary control over the care of their children, including determining what’s best for them.
This also means that it is within a parent’s rights to deny grandparents visitation if they believe it is not beneficial or healthy for their children to spend time with their grandparents.
The courts presume that the parents are making the right decision in these regards but when grandparents can show otherwise, it may be possible to win visitation rights.
When Can Grandparents Seek Visitation Rights?
Grandparents can seek visitation rights through the courts when they are able to present convincing evidence of one or more of the following:
- Both parents are incompetent or unfit and may cause harm to the child.
- The grandparents cared for their grandchild as a parent would.
- Losing the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild would cause harm to the child.
Grandparents’ Rights and Custody
In some cases parents may be unfit to care for their children and the grandparents may feel they need to have custody of their grandchildren. Grandparents may seek custody of their grandchildren if both parents are unfit to raise them or have given up their parental rights along with one or more of the following conditions:
- The grandchild has been neglected or abused by their parent
- The grandparent has taken over the care and parental obligations of the grandchild
- The grandparent is not paid to care for the grandchild
- The grandchild and grandparent share a strong bond more akin to a parent-child relationship
- The grandparent having custody of the grandchild is in the child’s best interest
- The loss of the grandparent-grandchild relationship would cause harm to the child
Seeking Visitation Rights or Custody
Grandparents’ rights are secondary to the parents’ rights in the state of Utah. Accordingly, the law assumes a parent’s choice to prevent grandparents from seeing their grandchildren is in the children’s best interests.
Grandparents seeking visitation rights or custody of their grandchildren must prove otherwise to get the courts to rule in their favor. A family law attorney can help provide legal advice and collect and present evidence of the grandparents’ claims when applicable and in the best interest of the grandchild.
Contact Our Family Law Attorneys
For more information about grandparents’ rights or for help with your case, call our Ogden law firm at (801) 621-2690 or schedule a consultation online.