More often than not, and regardless of the state, grandparents have a hard time getting custody of their grandchild or grandchildren, simply because the court will normally determine that it’s in the best interests of the child to stay with her or his parents. But there are several situations wherein a court could rule that a child might be better off living her or his grandparents.
How Grandparents Could Get Visitation or Custody of their Grandchildren
All grandparents have the right to request for visitation privileges with their grandchild as long as they obey the law’s requirements and provisions. They could likewise petition for custody or visitation in case the parents of their grandchild is in the process of divorcing. The court will take into careful consideration the following factors when determining whether to give visitation or custody rights to grandparents:
- Whether the child’s parents are incompetent or unfit.
- Whether the parent has unreasonably restricted or denied visitation to the grandparents and why.
- Whether the grandparent is a proper and fit individual to obtain visitation rights. This means that grandparents will have a difficult time getting visitation privileges if they have a history of arrests or convictions, most particularly charges or convictions of domestic abuse or violence, sexual abuse, kidnapping, or substance abuse, notes Buhler Thomas Law, P.C.’s child custody attorney in Provo.
- Whether the grandparent has served or is serving as a caregiver or custodian of the child, and the end or loss of their relationship might negatively affect the grandchild.
- Whether the parent of the grandchild has either died or gone missing for a significant length of time due to separation or divorce proceedings or for some other reason.
- Whether granting custody or visitation rights to the grandparents will be in the best interests of the child.
Other Important Things to Note
Grandparents should prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the parent or parents of their grandchild aren’t capable of meeting essential parental responsibilities because Utah child custody statutes assume that parents will always act in the best interests of their child and grandparents requesting custody should clearly show otherwise. If you are a grandparent who wishes to exercise your visitation rights or gain custody of your grandchild, your best recourse would be to seek help from a lawyer who could gauge the merit of your case.