A new case has completely changed the way that Courts evaluate Utah’s Grandparents Rights Statute, Utah Code Section 30-2-5. This statute was created to give grandparents their own independent rights to visitation with their grandchildren under specific circumstances. Instead of proving the factors that are laid out in the statute, now the grandparents must first prove that the statute is constitutional. The Court stated it was unlikely there are any circumstances in which they would find it was constitutional.
Based on this decision, it is going to be much more difficult, if not impossible, for any grandparent to establish a grandparent’s right to visitation. Therefore, if grandparents want to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren and the parent is denying it, then the grandparents would have to file a third-party petition for custody or a guardianship case, both of which require grandparents to be willing to take on care of the grandchildren full-time. For more information regarding these two procedures, see our follow up blogs.