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Utah Grandparents' Rights

Grandparents Must Overcome Rebuttable Presumption


Utah grandparents rights

The constitutionality of Utah's grandparent visitation statute has been upheld.

Photo © Utah Department of Tourism

Utah law has been found constitutional, due largely to its reference to the "rebuttable presumption" that a parent's decision about grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the child. This provision brings Utah into alignment with the finding in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Troxel v. Granville. The Utah Code lists several factors relevant to rebutting the presumption. These include the following:

  • Whether the grandparent is a fit and proper person to have visitation rights
  • Whether visitation with the grandchild has been denied or "unreasonably limited"
  • Whether the parent is unfit or incompetent
  • Whether the grandparent has served as custodian or caregiver to the grandchild, or whether the grandparent-grandchild relationship was substantial enough that its cessation would harm the grandchild.
  • Whether the grandparent's child has died or become a noncustodial parent through divorce or legal separation
  • Whether the parent who is the child of the grandparent has been missing for an extended period of time.
In addition, the court may interview the child and take into account his or her wishes.

Adoption terminates visitation rights unless the adopting party is a stepparent.

See Utah Code, 30-5-2.

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