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Utah Family Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
Q: Would I be able to move out of state with my daughter?

I have full custody and he has standard visitation. I was wondering if I'd be able to move out of state with my daughter and what steps I'd need to take to do so? Can I move if I give him notice and have a parenting planning place for when I move or do I have to get approval from the... Read more »

Brian Craig
Brian Craig answered on Jan 3, 2020

Utah Code section 30-3-37 governs relocation if the controlling decree does not address relocation.

At least 60 days before the planned move, the parent who plans to move more than 150 miles from the other parent must send the other parent a Notice of Relocation that tells the other parent...
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3 Answers | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: If i file for visitation, do my children get a say in the matter?

I lost custody due to a very short-lived drug issue. I have been clean for over 3 years and completed all the requirements from the court. My ex husband wouldnt even let me talk to my kids until early this year. I got him to agree to let me see them every other weekend while he supervised. I want... Read more »

Brian Craig
Brian Craig answered on Dec 26, 2019

This is left to the discretion of the trial judge. Utah Code § 30–3–10(2)(p) indicates that one relevant factor in the best interest of the child includes “the stated wishes and concerns of the child, taking into consideration the child's cognitive ability and emotional maturity.” A... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Support for Utah on
Q: Can I file for default on an Order to show cause?

I filed an order to show cause for child support that the court ordered,( he hasn't paid in over a year and is a little over 4000 behind he also has a job and it's his 13th or 14th one in the last 3 years because he keeps quitting so hes basically not keeping a job to avoid paying.) I... Read more »

Lane Wood
Lane Wood answered on Dec 17, 2019

The answer to your question will depend on which court you are in. Orders to show cause are governed by local rules that differ from one district to the next. Generally speaking if an opposing party does not oppose a motion, the court will grant the relief requested. The process for getting that... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: How do you start visitation with your children when you're in Utah and your ex is in another state?

My ex has not let me see my daughter for a long time, other factors were an issue with this situation but aren't any more. I don't know where to start.

Brian Craig
Brian Craig answered on Dec 9, 2019

I suggest contacting a family law attorney. Jurisdictional issues involving different states can be complicated in child custody disputes. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) defines the term as the state in which the child lived with a parent for at least six... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: Can my ex deny visitation with no court orders for visitation?

I pay child support and we have never gone to court for custody or any visitation orders. No restraining orders or anything. We were never married. She even changed my son’s last name without my consent, even though I am on the birth certificate. I haven’t seen my son in 3 years. Can’t... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Nov 8, 2019

Unfortunately, you have little recourse without an order from the Court. I presume the child lives in Utah with the other parent. If you truly cannot afford the court fees, you can request a waiver. I would refer you to and look at the self-help section for family law.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Utah on
Q: Is a guardian ad litem legally required to provide both parties in a custody case a report on his findings

The GAL assigned to my case refused to see me until I paid him in full which I could not do. He did not investigate claims made by other party to see if they were accurate did not ask me my side or allow me to present my evidence to him that claims made were a lie. At our temporary custody hearing... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Nov 2, 2019

You really, REALLY need an attorney on your side. If you have not contacted Utah Legal Services to see if you can get pro bono assistance, you truly should . . . Monday. A guardian ad litem SHOULDN'T favor a party who pays over one who does not, but that doesn't mean it might not happen.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: What are the steps someone would need to take to get guardianship of a child in a unstable home?

I live in a unstable home and don't get the proper needs what would be the steps to take for someone to get guardianship of me?

Brian Craig
Brian Craig answered on Nov 1, 2019

If there is suspected child abuse or neglect, the proposed guardian could first report the suspected neglect to the Utah Division of Child & Family Services (DCFS). Call 1-855-323-DCFS (3237). A minor can also contact a school counselor or other adult to self report possible neglect. The school... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: I am 15 and my step-dad is emotionally abusive towards me he wont buy me my needs, Can I go live with a friend?

I live in too small of a house with way to many people, Its a 4 bedroom house with 10 people. My friends family are willing to take me in, my biological dad is going to jail and there is no one I can go to he has denied me from seeing a therapist or anything like that. Can my friends family get... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Oct 25, 2019

Contact and see if they can refer you to a pro bono (no fee) attorney in or near Tooele. Alternatively, could you convince your mom (unless step dad has adopted you, he really doesn't LEGALLY get a say in the matter) to sign over temporary guardianship? If you cannot get... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Domestic Violence and Family Law for Utah on
Q: Am I obligated to comply with DCFS in a child welfare case if I have not been through the mediation process yet?

I was the victim of domestic violence and my husband told the police I abused drugs after he physically attacked me in an effort to take the attention off himself. Prior to the argument I had told him that I had used a week prior thinking that it was a priviged cinversation. Can I argue that it... Read more »

Brian Craig
Brian Craig answered on Oct 22, 2019

There are two privileges potentially involved here: the marital privilege and the privilege against self-incrimination. The marital communications privilege is governed under Utah Rule of Evidence 502. Rule 502 states that a confidential communication is "made privately by any person to his or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: I'm an unmarried father in Utah of 3 boys. Have lived as a family since the begining to present. Can I get 50/50 custod

Ages 7, 5 and 3. I am on birth certificates. Really have been living as a normal family with mother for 7 years till present. Just have never been married. Our neighbors are even shocked at times to hear we were never legitimately married. We're ending on good terms for the most part but the... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Oct 1, 2019

You will likely be hard-pressed to find an attorney willing to give you your chances. I will tell you that the request, based on the extremely limited amount of information in this Ask-a-Lawyer post, is reasonable. If you are willing to actually be responsible for taking care of the children 50% of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: ok I live in the state Az and I already have court orders here but just had to go to SLC Utah because

well I have been trying to enforce any parenting time I was given but the father has sent my daughter out of state to Utah with his mother at first and she was only suppose to stay out there to visit with grandma because she has cancer and wants to spend time with her , anyways the dad is here in... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Sep 11, 2019

If you have a custody agreement in Arizona, you need to file for a modification. If the father has primary custody and is homeless, it will be difficult for him to argue the child would be safe in his care. You could also file a complaint with child protective services when you file your petition... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Family Law and Juvenile Law for Utah on
Q: so I am just wondering if I should get a laywer for my daughter my only thing is I dont have the money for one well

not a down payment my daughter is 11 years old and is getting charged with a felony and a class b misdominer her and a friend went to walmart and on the way in found a credit card went in used the credit card for like 15 .00 than tryed to pull money out at the ATM witch mind you did not work at the... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Aug 7, 2019

Your daughter is entitled to a court-appointed attorney. I am not sure a privately-retained attorney would have much advantage over the public defender in this case.

Hopefully your daughter can get some assistance coping with the losses she has sustained in her young life.

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: While separated with a child, do the 2 parties involved must keep each other informed of an address change?
Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Aug 5, 2019

Unless there are accusations of domestic violence, it is always a good idea - during separation, while the divorce is pending, and after the divorce is finalized - to keep the other parent informed of any change in address or phone number. Your marriage may be ending, but you are stuck with your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: Can I subpoena my spouses phone records to prove infidelity and criminal activity so that she could manipulate DV laws?

I dont want to take property or personal belongings from her. I just want to prove that i was not doing anything to make her do those things. I want to protect my finacial sources and truck while im getting divorced. Also i dont know if that would help with possible resopsibilities i might be have... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Jul 16, 2019

Most divorces settle prior to trial. You should have your attorney request the records in discovery. They could be useful in negotiations. Unless you can prove she used marital assets to support her infidelity (gifts, travel expenses, money spent on hotels), you will likely not be able to alter... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Adoption, Child Custody and Family Law for Utah on
Q: Can I get 50/50 custody or any legal rights of my non biological son?

I got with my ex when she was pregnant, found out she cheated on me at least twice since he was born. I left two months before his third birthday in April 2017, had him every other weekend until October 2018 when I offered to pay half his daycare to get 50/50 custody and have had him every other... Read more »

Brian Craig
Brian Craig answered on Jul 5, 2019

A person other than a biological parent, such as a grandparent or a step-parent, may petition the court for custody and visitation of a child in Utah. But there must be special circumstances for the court to award custody and visitation to a person who is not a parent.

Utah Code Ann. sec....
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Utah on
Q: I have to go to court for temporary relief?? Not sure what for or what to expect?
Jaclyn Jane Robertson
Jaclyn Jane Robertson answered on Jun 28, 2019

Hi. Happy to help, but first need a little more information. I'm assuming this is for a pending divorce action. If so, you should have received a Motion for Temporary Relief as well as other supporting documents. That Motion will outline the relief being sought.

We have a video...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Utah on
Q: I agreed to let my exhusband take our 15 year old to Spain and he got her a tattoo while there. Can anything be done?

We have joint custody but they have lived with me full time for over a year.

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Jun 27, 2019

Yes, but . . .

Operating under the assumption that you have joint legal as well as physical custody, it was inappropriate for your ex-husband to allow your minor child to be tattooed without your knowledge or consent. A couple of questions come to mind. 1) What is the battle worth to you?...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
Q: What can I do?

My oldest son lives with his father. His father has sole custody (I have sole custody of our other child). My son was abused by his stepmother. DCFS is involved. Justice court is involved. I was not given information about the trial nor was I informed that the prosecutor had been changed. I thought... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Jun 20, 2019

Regardless of what was SUPPOSED to have happened, you should take an active interest in this case if you are willing to take custody of your oldest son. If you are NOT willing to take custody and just have hurt feelings because you were not notified, I believe you are out of luck. Hopefully you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
Q: I have recently found out my son's dad is never home with his son and his dad girlfriend has been taking care of my son

Since his dad is failing on taking care of him can I pick up my son to live with me no custody has been established

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on May 24, 2019

It sounds like you have some type of informal, verbal agreement for custody. You would be ill-advised to just "pick up your son to live with you" regardless of a formal custody agreement.

The first step, in my opinion, would be to have a conversation with the child's father,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Utah on
Q: Can I record mine and my step-child's in person conversations?

The childs father and I are trying for full custody, as we believe the child is being neglected, emotionally and physically. I am currently taking pictures of what I can and writing down everything he says it's happening there. He's not getting fed, and he's rarely in clean clothes.... Read more »

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Apr 18, 2019

Utah law only requires one party to the conversation be aware a recording is being made, so, yes, you may legally record the conversations with or without his knowledge. As far as helping your case, requesting the appointment of a guardian ad litem would probably be more advantageous than your... Read more »

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