Grandparents’ Rights After Divorce in Utah
One of the hallmarks of the unique culture in Utah is extremely tight-knit families. When parents divorce, the relationships between the children and their grandparents changes as well. The more acrimonious the split, the possibility for ongoing problems with grandparents’ visitation understandably increases. A landmark case before the United States Supreme Court found that grandparents did have rights to see their grandchildren as long as it is in the children’s best interest and does not interfere with the parent’s constitutional right and responsibility to raise their children.
Visits during the non-custodial parent’s parenting time
One of the ways that grandparents an see their grandchildren after a divorce is to spend time with them when the children are with their non-custodial parent. In some cases, such as when the non-custodial parent lives in a different state, and the grandparents live close to their grandchildren, the opportunity to visit grandchildren changes greatly.
Burden of proof – child’s best interests
Family Courts are obligated by law to make all decisions based on the child’s best interest. This begins with the assumption that all people who have positive relationships with the children before a divorce should continue to keep those relationships after a divorce. For most families, swallowing hurt and facilitating extended family visits without further litigation is within reach, but for some, it’s more complicated.
“When grandparents are denied access to their grandchildren, they must prove that they have had a substantial relationship with their grandchildren and that the absence of this relationship results in harm to the children,” says a leading Provo divorce attorney from Larsen Law Firm. Parents’ rights are always considered before grandparents in the absence of the parents being found as unfit.
What if parents truly are unfit?
For those grandparents who see their grandchildren in a dangerous situation, they can petition the court to award custody by determining that the parents are not fit parents or the children are regularly in harm’s way or neglected by their parent(s).
If you are considering petitioning Utah Family Courts for grandparents’ visitation, please schedule a no-obligation consultation with a Provo divorce lawyer from Larsen Law Firm.