Utah Family Law and Divorce Attorney David C. Blum
Offices in Salt Lake City and Davis County - Call 801-988-9629

Utah Child Custody and Visitation Attorney

Can someone other than a parent get child custody or visitation rights in Utah?

Utah law gives a strong preference to parents as caregivers and custodians for their children. But in some cases, a person other than the parent may be given custody or visitation rights for a child. Whether you are a non-parent seeking to obtain child custody or visitation rights or a parent trying to protect your rights, having the right attorney can be critical to accomplishing your goals. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

In addressing custody or visitation rights by a non-parent, there are multiple areas of law that can come into play. Three of the most significant acts are: the Utah Custody and Visitation for Persons Other than Parents Act; the Utah Guardianship Act; and the Utah Termination of Parental Rights Act. This page will focus on the Utah Custody and Visitation for Persons Other than Parents Act.

Utah Custody and Visitation for Persons Other than Parents

Presumption in Favor of Parents

The Utah legislature has, by statute, stated the public policy that parents retain the right and duty to exercise primary control over the care, upbringing, education, and supervision of their children. The legislature has also set out a rebuttable presumption that the decisions of parents are in the best interests of their children. The Utah Custody and Visitation for Persons Other than Parents Act sets out the requirements that must be met in order to rebut that presumption when someone other than a parent seeks custody or court-ordered visitation with a child.

Relationship by Blood or Marriage

Under the Utah Custody and Visitation for Person Other than Parents Act, the person seeking custody or visitation must qualify as either a blood relative or a step-relative. Specifically, the term "person other than a parent" is defined as meaning a person related to the child by other marriage or blood, including siblings, uncles, aunts, grandparents, a current or former step-parent, or a sibling, uncle, aunt, or grandparent in a step relationship to the child.

Factors that Must Be Proven

Merely establishing the required relationship is not sufficient to allow the court to give custody or visitation rights to a non-parent. The non-parent must also establish the following factors:

  • the person seeking custody or visitation has intentionally assumed the role and obligations of a parent;
  • an emotional bond and parent-child type relationship has been formed between the person and the child;
  • the person has contributed either emotionally or financially to the child's well being;
  • the person's assumption of the parental role did not result from a financially-compensated surrogate care arrangement;
  • continuation of the relationship between the person and the child would be in the best interests of the child;
  • the cessation or loss of the relationship between the child and the person would be detrimental to the child; and
  • the parent is either absent or is found by a court to have neglected or abused the child.
The burden of proof in an action by a non-parent rests with the non-parent. The factors listed above must be proven by clear and convincing evidence - the highest standard of proof required by law other than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Choosing a Utah Family Law Attorney

The fields of family law and divorce involve some of the most important and personal of all legal issues. The fight over custody and visitation rights can be intense. Having the assistance of an experienced family law attorney is critical.

Utah family law attorney David Blum has the experience necessary to help his clients in protecting their rights and their families. Contact us today to see how he can help you.

  • Family Law Attorney
  • Adoptions
  • Paternity
  • Guardianships
  • Conservatorships
  • Parental Rights Termination

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David C. Blum, PC | 560 South 300 East, Suite 200 | Salt Lake City, UT 84111

David C. Blum, PC is part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC.
by Stephen W. Howard, P.C.

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