Riverton, UT asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah

Q: What are the laws for non-biological parents and child custody?

My boyfriend has 3 girls from a previous marriage, two of them are non-biological and he never got to adopt them but they consider him their dad, it's been recently that they want to live with him. What are the laws on this? If he never adopted them but has been in their life since they were little and their biological dad has nothing to do with them can they choose who to live with? All of them are at least 13 years or older. We live in Utah. Even his biological child wants to live with him.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mike Branum
Mike Branum
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: If the girls and their mother live in Utah, you can file an action for custody and visitation for persons other than parent (see Utah Code Annotated 30-5a-103). I do not believe there are any forms precisely on point on the Utah Court's self-help website (https://www.utcourts.gov/howto/divorce/custody.html) because this is not an extremely common situation. A competent family law attorney is your best resource to assist you in navigating this legal challenge.

IF the mother is agreeable, you could draft a document giving your boyfriend guardianship. This will NOT provide any defensible rights as he would receive if so awarded after a petition to establish custody.

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