FAQ On Grandparents' Rights

As a grandparent, you know how special your relationship with each grandchild is. Words can't really fully express how meaningful such relationships can be.

But if the parent of the grandchild doesn't want you to have access to the child, it can be difficult. It can be not only emotionally difficult but legally difficult, because the law in Utah is generally not favorable to grandparent rights.

Here are some frequently asked questions:

Was there a recent change in the law on grandparent's rights in Utah?

In recent years, Utah court decisions have placed limitations on when grandparents can get custody or visitation rights. In particular, there are limitations when one of the grandchild's parents refuses to let the grandparents have access.

Why do the courts take this position?

One factor is a U.S. Supreme Court decision from 2000. In that case, the Court ruled there is a presumption that a fit parent's decision regarding grandparents' access to his or her child is valid.

It is a potentially different case if overriding the parent's decision would protect the child from substantial emotional harm. But the presumption of validity that a parent's decision has is not easily overcome.

Could you give an example of how this plays out in a particular case?

In a case last year, a grandparent couple contended that they had been caregivers for their grandchild, in a parent-like way. But the Utah Supreme Court said there wasn't enough evidence of a parent-like relationship. In other words, there is a high bar that grandparents must meet when challenging a parent's decision to deny visitation to the grandparents.

Your Situation

Even with a high bar for challenging a decision by a parent about visitation, grandparents still do have certain rights. If you are upset about what is happening in your situation, give us a call to arrange a confidential consultation or complete our online form.