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Utah Family Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
Q: My son is 15 years old and i have a few questions i need some help with

My son is 15, my ex and i split up when he was 7 and he was spending time between the 2 of us, then one day he tells me if i want to see him again, to take him to court. I never did because my family advised against it, so i haven't seen him in years. Now, he got arrested in Utah and my ex... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Jul 27, 2021

So many questions. Were you married? Is the ex on the birth certificate? Was there EVER a custody order entered by any court? How long ago was "one day"? Have you remained in communication with your 15 year old? Does he WANT to live with grandma or with you in Utah? Does grandma have a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: Hello my oldest daughter is 12 years of age i also have a 10 year old daughter and a 5 year old son. Question is, it

Legal for my 12 year old to be home alone with the other 2 from 3 pm to 3to5 am

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Jul 16, 2021

Utah Code Annotated 34-23-205 lists "baby-sitting" as a permitted occupation for minors 12 years of age or older, so the short answer to "is it legal" would be yes. The reasonableness of leaving minor children in the care of another minor is subjective and would be reviewed by... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Native American Law, Family Law and Adoption for Utah on
Q: My son wants his stepfather to adopt him, but my son and I are Native American. Can we still file for ourselves in Utah?

My son and I are both members of a federally recognized tribe. We do not live on the reservation. I assume ICWA will apply, but as neither biological father or step father are Native American, I am sure my tribe would consent. Bio father has not contacted my son or paid child support in over 5... Read more »

Jason F. Barnes
Jason F. Barnes answered on Jul 8, 2021

Hello. ICWA is applicable and very complicated when it comes to adoption cases, and the forms on the court's website are for basic adoptions. Honestly, I am surprised that the court's website has adoption forms at all, as there are many varieties of adoption cases and overall they are... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Adoption and Family Law for Utah on
Q: Paternity Mess

I have a rather unusual problem. I live in Utah and am the disconnected part of a polyamorous triad wherein the other two partners happened to get married before they explored polyamory. They happily have a child together and we all have been happy for about five years. Now I am having a child with... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Jun 14, 2021

You are correct that you should list yourself as the father on the birth certificate. You need to voluntarily relinquish your parental rights and allow the husband to adopt the child. You need to understand that this will forever extinguish any legal rights you would have with the child (although... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Domestic Violence and Juvenile Law for Utah on
Q: If I've run away from home and am living somewhere else unofficially can I contact my family? Can my dad take me home?

I ran away from home recently and DCFS hasn't really been over to tell me where I was going and what I was doing. They came over once to see if I had a place to go and a bed to sleep in, etc. The agent told the family I'm staying with that my father can legally take me home with him... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Jun 11, 2021

There is no reason you cannot contact your family and for the sake of your future relationship with them, you should. Until someone else is appointed your guardian, you are emancipated, or you turn 18; yes, your father could take you home. As your parent, he has that right.

In order to be...
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2 Answers | Asked in Child Custody, Family Law and Domestic Violence for Utah on
Q: Can I get emancipated from a family that's abusive without legal consent from my parents? I'm 16

I've recently ran away from home because my dad has been abusive for years and I have gotten a bunch of support from my friends and my friends got me out of the house. I was in some trouble for another legal thing that I also need answers for. When I ran away I was talking with my local police... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Jun 10, 2021

Utah Legal Services may be able to connect you with a local attorney who could help you pro bono (free). The short answer is "yes, you can be emancipated without your parents consent." You will need to show that you can actually support yourself and not rely on the family you are staying... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
Q: Can proctor parents legally open their child's mail if their child is no longer a minor?

My friend is 19 years old. He recently reported to me that his proctor parents have been opening his mail, and have told him that he has no right to his possessions while under their custody and they can legally do whatever they want with anything of his, including taking away his money earned at... Read more »

Paul Waldron
Paul Waldron answered on May 21, 2021

It depends. Generally speaking, without any other information regarding your friend's situation. Do the proctor parents have a custody or guardianship order? If they do, they likely have a right to open your friend's mail and may have a right to control his finances. Also, if they... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
Q: Can a child choose to live with dad. Even though he is on supervised visits issued by a judge.

2 years ago dad was put on supervised visits because he is an alcoholic. The mother began to let the kids go with their father without supervision and without going back to court. Now the 14 year old child wants to live with dad. Is that possible?

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Feb 3, 2021

I'm having a sense of deja vu with this question. Possible? Almost anything is. Advisable? That depends on whether dad is still an alcoholic. If dad is still an alcoholic, mom lets the 14 year old go live with him, and anything happens to the child; mom could face both civil and criminal... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
Q: Can a child choose to live with dad. Even though he is on supervised visits issued by a judge.

2 years ago dad was put on supervised visits because he is an alcoholic. The mother began to let the kids go with their father without supervision and without going back to court. Now the 14 year old child wants to live with dad. Is that possible?

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Feb 1, 2021

Possible? Almost everything is. Advisable? Probably not unless dad is a year sober. Legal? You have already set a precedent by allowing variations from the court order. If dad petitions the court, he could possibly get more visitation than the current order but it is much less likely that he would... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
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... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Jan 13, 2021

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
Q: I haven't had contact with my daughters bio father in almost 5 years.

custody is not established. When she was a baby I did have an open ORS case and recieved child support. I closed the case over 3 years ago- and have not had contact with bio father almost 5 years. What do I need to do to next? Is this considered abandonment? Is terminating rights possible at this... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Dec 15, 2020

You should have a very strong case for abandonment and termination of parental rights if the sperm donor knew where the child was, had the ability to make contact, and merely failed to make an effort to maintain contact. If he can demonstrate attempts to communicate or show that you interfered with... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody, Domestic Violence and Family Law for Utah on
Q: Can you petition for an ex parte child protective order in UT, for an (unrelated) child who recently moved out of UT?

Child was in utah for years before leaving with mother to flee domestic violence. no custody orders on child have ever been filed. Petitioner was the perpetrator of domestic violence, and is not at all related to child and has never lived with child. Does Utah allow for people to petition for a... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Dec 14, 2020

UCCJEA questions are never simple and this forum allows for very few details so remember that this answer is NOT legal advice. That being said, you can FILE for a lot of things; whether or not the Order is enforceable is another matter. It is incredibly difficult to get orders of this nature... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Adoption, Criminal Law and Family Law for Utah on
Q: I am on a Child Abuse Registry for a chronic offense but never criminally charged what to do to remove name?

Is there a chance to remove my name from DCFS database, and somewhere down the line to adopt my cousins in case they get put into fostercare? i'm willing to undergo any psychological testing or other proof to show i am not a danger.

Lane Wood
Lane Wood answered on Dec 7, 2020

My reading of the statute is that being on the child abuse registry alone does not prevent you from adopting a child. I don't know the process, if any, for removing oneself from the child abuse registry, but I have successfully completed an adoption for an individual who was on the registry.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Utah on
Q: I have been divorced for 2 years. From before the divorce was final, ex-husband would pick up and drop off our child.

He has missed a lot of visits saying that I am refusing to let our child go (which is untrue), he just never contacts me and/or picks him up. He is now engaged and has started saying I need to meet him in the middle. When we did our divorce papers, he would not agree on a meeting provision, so it... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Oct 8, 2020

Meeting in the middle is more or less the default absent a showing of why the arrangement should be different. At least if you arrange to meet in the middle you should know in advance when he is going to exercise parent time. If he fails to show more than once or twice, you likely have a good... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: How can I take an Emergency Order for Child Pick up from UT Court and have it enforced in MN? he took kids against order

My name is Jessica. We have been in divorce process for over a year. The temp order on 9/3/19 gave us joint custody as we sought fit. He moved back to MN 11/2019 after the order was placed . He came to visit our kids a couple times then we had a status hearing due to me in fear of him taking the... Read more »

Lane Wood
Lane Wood answered on Oct 2, 2020

I'm sorry that you are going through this. The process can be a tricky process. If Utah is the Court with jurisdiction, you can request a "pick up order" in Utah. This order should allow the police to help you regain custody of your children. Once you have the Utah Order, you would... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
Q: My daughter & ex son in law have joint custody for their 2 children in the state of Utah. A few months ago my daughter

Came to Arizona because she was having some problems. Her ex agreed to keep the girls while she was away but before she left she was served papers from her ex stating he wanted full custody. So she responded to the courts from AZ & was given a court date & time that they were to have a... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Aug 6, 2020

She really needs a Utah family law attorney to ensure her rights are adequately defended. That being said, she should contact the clerk and see if an order issued after the missed hearing or if there had been any additional filings. She may need to ask the Court to set aside any order that was... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Utah on
Q: have 2 children they have always resided with their mother until recently my son now 14 has decided he wants to live

with me. there is a CS order from Utah for 1100. month for both children. and recent modifications say her part 331. and mine the 1100 they say I have to pay 12 months out of year. there is no decrease because one resided with me and she does not have to pay unless they are both with me. this makes... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Aug 4, 2020

You will need to file a request / petition / motion (depending on the jurisdiction, it can be called different things) to modify the child support in the court where the child support order was issued UNLESS that court is in a state where neither you, your ex, nor the children still reside. If the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Family Law, Communications Law and Health Care Law for Utah on
Q: Can I record a teleheatlth appointment?

Alright, might sound like a weird situation but here we go. I recorded a family therapy session on my phone. It only has the audio. I have epilepsy and part of that is memory problems. So, I recorded the session so I could make a transcript of the session to read over and understand better and... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Aug 2, 2020

This is an example of why you do not take legal advice from therapists. This is an extremely complex question and I would need more information to provide the best answer but based on what you have described, I would not be concerned. Even if the recording is technically illegal, which is not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
Q: Mysiswasgiven guardianshipinMt.nowshe has told me to file a change of custodywith courtshereinUt. Isthis possible?

I did not loose my Parental rights & they are telling her this is what I'm to do now to get my kids back is this right? What do I file?

Lane Wood
Lane Wood answered on Jul 29, 2020

The answer to your question will require more facts to answer specifically. I suggest that you consult with an attorney on this issue. Here is some general information that may be helpful:

1. Generally speaking jurisdiction over minor children falls under the UCCJEA. The UCCJEA generally...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: Do I need to give my Ex my out of state travel itinerary?

I am taking my son out of state for one of the weeks of summer vacation. My Ex says that I need to give her my travel itinerary for this time and make him available for phone calls even though some of this is camping and cell reception may not be available. Do I need to give her all of this... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Jul 27, 2020

Providing an itinerary for travel is usually a part of the custody agreement. Even if it was left out, it is a really good idea and it doesn't cost you anything. If the travel dates are flexible, say so and keep the non-custodial parent updated. Make the child(ren) available by cell phone when... Read more »

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