First Substitute H.B. 418

Representative LaVar Christensen proposes the following substitute bill:




Chief Sponsor: LaVar Christensen

Senate Sponsor: Wayne A. Harper

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill amends provisions concerning the visitation rights of a grandparent.
             10      Highlighted Provisions:
             11          This bill:
             12          .    amends definitions; and
             13          .    provides that a grandparent may petition for visitation after a parent's rights have
             14      been terminated, unless the grandchild is adopted by a nonrelative.
             15      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             16          None
             17      Other Special Clauses:
             18          None
             19      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             20      AMENDS:
             21           30-5-1 , as last amended by Laws of Utah 2002, Chapter 85
             22           30-5-2 , as last amended by Laws of Utah 2005, Chapter 129
             24      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             25          Section 1. Section 30-5-1 is amended to read:

             26           30-5-1. Definitions.
             27          As used in this act:
             28          (1) "District court" means the district court with proper jurisdiction over the
             29      grandchild.
             30          (2) "Grandchild" means the child with respect to whom a grandparent is seeking
             31      visitation rights under this chapter.
             32          (3) "Grandparent," except as otherwise provided in this chapter, means [a person] an
             33      individual whose child, either by blood, marriage, or adoption, is the parent of the grandchild.
             34          (4) "Nonrelative" means an individual who is not related to the grandchild by blood or
             35      marriage at the time of the adoption.
             36          Section 2. Section 30-5-2 is amended to read:
             37           30-5-2. Visitation rights of grandparents.
             38          (1) Grandparents have standing to bring an action in district court by petition,
             39      requesting visitation in accordance with the provisions and requirements of this section.
             40      Grandparents may also file a petition for visitation rights in a pending divorce proceeding or
             41      other proceeding involving custody and visitation issues.
             42          (2) There is a rebuttable presumption that a parent's decision with regard to
             43      grandparent visitation is in the grandchild's best interests. However, the court may override the
             44      parent's decision and grant the petitioner reasonable rights of visitation if the court finds that
             45      the petitioner has rebutted the presumption based upon factors which the court considers to be
             46      relevant, such as whether:
             47          (a) the petitioner is a fit and proper [person] individual to have visitation with the
             48      grandchild;
             49          (b) visitation with the grandchild has been denied or unreasonably limited;
             50          (c) the parent is unfit or incompetent;
             51          (d) the petitioner has acted as the grandchild's custodian or caregiver, or otherwise has
             52      had a substantial relationship with the grandchild, and the loss or cessation of that relationship
             53      is likely to cause harm to the grandchild;
             54          (e) the petitioner's child, who is a parent of the grandchild, has died, or has become a
             55      noncustodial parent through divorce or legal separation;
             56          (f) the petitioner's child, who is a parent of the grandchild, has been missing for an

             57      extended period of time; or
             58          (g) visitation is in the best interest of the grandchild.
             59          (3) The adoption of a grandchild by the grandchild's stepparent does not diminish or
             60      alter visitation rights previously ordered under this section.
             61          (4) Subject to the provisions of Subsections (2) and (3), the court may inquire of the
             62      grandchild and take into account the grandchild's desires regarding visitation.
             63          (5) On the petition of a grandparent or the legal custodian of a grandchild the court
             64      may, after a hearing, modify an order regarding grandparent visitation if:
             65          (a) the circumstances of the grandchild, the grandparent, or the custodian have
             66      materially and substantially changed since the entry of the order to be modified, or the order
             67      has become unworkable or inappropriate under existing circumstances; and
             68          (b) the court determines that a modification is appropriate based upon the factors set
             69      forth in Subsection (2).
             70          (6) Grandparents may petition the court to remedy a parent's wrongful noncompliance
             71      with a visitation order.
             72          (7) (a) The rights of grandparents pursuant to this section are not extinguished when a
             73      parent's rights are terminated under Title 78A, Chapter 6, Part 5, Termination of Parental
             74      Rights Act, unless the grandchild is adopted by a nonrelative.
             75          (b) For purposes of this Subsection (7), a grandparent means an individual:
             76          (i) whose child's parental rights are terminated; and
             77          (ii) whose child is the parent of the grandchild by blood or marriage.

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