Grandparents: Do They Have Visitation Rights?

Divorce is hard on everyone involved, but the hurt felt by grandparents during a divorce is often overlooked. In most families, parents, and kids alike look forward to spending time with grandparents, and in some families, grandmother and grandfather play the roles of emotional support provider for the entire family. Often, grandparents are looked to for dependable and trusted childcare, and above all, families count on them for their love and attention. But what happens when divorce tears a family apart? Do grandparents just hope to sneak the occasional visit here and there, or do they have visitation rights too?

Legal Recourse for Grandparents of Divorce

In Utah, there is some legal recourse for grandparents of divorce seeking to spend time with their grandchildren if no amicable agreement can be reached with the divorced parents. Under Utah law, it is presumed that parents act in the best interests of the child when deciding whether to allow or disallow visitation with grandparents. However, grandparents who are prevented from seeing their grandchildren can present their case before a judge and allow the judge to decide. Our Salt Lake City family law attorney can help you better understand the process of asking for visitation.

Some things that Utah judges take into consideration when deciding whether or not the visitation with the grandparent is in the child’s best interests naturally looks at whether the grandparent is a fit, competent person for the child to be around. The judge also determines if the grandparent’s denial of visitation was reasonable on the part of the parent. Whether or not the grandparent previously served as a caregiver for the child or if the child and grandparent had a close, substantial relationship. The judge will seek to determine if the loss of that relationship would be harmful to the grandchild. Judges also look at whether one parent has died, or if legal separation or divorce has caused one of the parents to become the noncustodial parent of the child—and what the relationship of the grandparent is to that specific parent.

No matter what factors come into play when a judge makes a determination about grandparent’s rights and visitation, one thing plays out across the board. The visitation rights of the grandparent can never infringe on the rights of the parents to parent and raise their own child. Although it is a balancing act to try to please everyone when visitation is on the table, the rights of the parents will always tip the scale in their favor, bar none, in any visitation case.

A Right to Be Heard

It is important to note that Utah grandparents have no rights to visitation, but they have the right to ask for visitation and to be heard in court. Judges ultimately base their decisions on parents’ wishes and what they believe serves the child best. Salt Lake City family law attorneyEmy A. Cordano knows that divorce is difficult for everyone in the family, including grandparents. Give us a call at (801) 901-8159 now to discuss your options.

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