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5 This act amends the grandparents visitation rights statute. The act clarifies that
6 grandparents may intervene in pending proceedings involving custody and visitation issues.
7 The act applies to all grandparent visitation actions a presumption in favor of the parent's
8 decision and describes how that presumption can be overcome. The act permits courts to
9 take into account the grandchild's desires regarding visitation. The act establishes a
10 standard for modification of an existing visitation order.
11 This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
13 30-5-1, as last amended by Chapter 265, Laws of Utah 2000
14 30-5-2, as last amended by Chapter 265, Laws of Utah 2000
15 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
16 Section 1. Section 30-5-1 is amended to read:
17 30-5-1. Definitions.
18 As used in this act:
19 (1) "District court" means the district court within whose jurisdiction the grandchildren
21 (2) "[
22 a grandparent is seeking visitation rights with under this chapter.
23 (3) "Grandparent" means a person whose child, either by blood, marriage, or adoption, is
24 the parent of the [
25 Section 2. Section 30-5-2 is amended to read:
26 30-5-2. Visitation rights of grandparents.
27 (1) Grandparents have standing to bring an action in district court by petition, requesting
28 visitation in accordance with the provisions and requirements of this section. Grandparents may
29 also file a petition for visitation rights in a pending divorce proceeding or other proceeding
30 involving custody and visitation issues.
49 (2) There is a rebuttable presumption that a parent's decision with regard to grandparent
50 visitation is in the grandchild's best interests, and that decision must be given special weight.
51 However, the court may override the parent's decision and grant the petitioner reasonable rights
52 of visitation if the court finds that:
53 (a) the petitioner is a fit and proper person to have visitation with the grandchild;
54 (b) visitation with the grandchild has been denied or unreasonably limited;
55 (c) visitation is in the best interests of the grandchild; and
56 (d) the petitioner has otherwise rebutted the presumption.
57 (3) In determining whether the petitioner has rebutted the presumption stated in Subsection
58 (2), the court may consider facts which the court considers to be relevant, such as whether:
59 (a) the parent is unfit or incompetent;
60 (b) the petitioner has acted as the grandchild's custodian or caregiver, or otherwise has had
61 a substantial relationship with the grandchild, and the loss or cessation of that relationship is likely
62 to cause harm to the grandchild;
63 (c) the petitioner's child, who is a parent of the grandchild, has died, or has become a
64 noncustodial parent through divorce or legal separation;
65 (d) the petitioner's child, who is a parent of the grandchild, has been missing for an
66 extended period of time; or
67 (e) the court of another state has granted visitation to the petitioner.
68 (4) (a) There is a rebuttable presumption that adoption of a [
69 or involuntary termination of parental rights with respect to the grandchild, or relinquishment of
70 the grandchild to a licensed child placing agency terminates all rights of a grandparent to [
72 the grandchild has established a relationship with the grandparent[
73 grandchild's continued contact with the grandparent will be in the best [
75 (b) Nothing in this Subsection (4) affects visitation rights of a grandparent that have been
76 ordered by a court pursuant to this section, if the grandchild is adopted by the grandchild's
78 (5) Subject to the provisions of Subsections (2), (3), and (4), the court may inquire of the
79 grandchild and take into account the grandchild's desires regarding visitation.
80 (6) On the motion of a grandparent or the legal custodian of a grandchild the court may,
81 after a hearing, modify an order that established grandparent visitation if:
82 (a) the circumstances of the grandchild, the grandparent, or the custodian have materially
83 and substantially changed since the entry of the order to be modified, or the order has become
84 unworkable or inappropriate under existing circumstances; and
85 (b) modification of the terms and conditions of the order would be in the best interests of
86 the grandchild.
88 a parent's wrongful noncompliance with a visitation order.
Legislative Review Note
as of 10-22-01 2:41 PM
A limited legal review of this legislation raises no obvious constitutional or statutory concerns.