All parents have certain rights when it comes to their children. Under Utah law, parents have the right to make independent decisions about raising their children. This includes the place they want to raise the children, the school they want to send the children to, the religious beliefs they want the children to follow, etc. These rights belong absolutely to the parents and no one else. If your rights as a parent are being violated, consult with an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer to know your options. Your rights as a parent comes to an end once the child becomes an adult. However, there are two other ways in which your rights as a parent comes to an end – emancipation and termination of parental rights. In both these processes, the court plays an important role.
Emancipation is a legal process by which a minor ceases to be minor for all legal purposes and will be treated as an adult. It requires filing of an application in the court and the court will determine if the minor can be emancipated after considering the circumstances. Just because a minor has filed an emancipation petition, it does not guarantee automatic emancipation under Utah laws.
The court can refuse to emancipate the minor. In such cases, the parent continues to have rights over the minor. But if the minor is emancipated under Utah law, the parent ceases to have any rights over the minor. In fact, in the eyes of law, the minor is no longer a minor. He or she is an adult for all purposes. An experienced Midway Utah family lawyer can assist you with the emancipation process in Utah. There are certain minimum requirements for emancipation under Utah law. The minor applying for emancipation must be at least 16 years old. Emancipation can occur automatically if the minor joins the US army.
Termination of Parental Rights Law
If you neglect your child, the State of Utah can bring a lawsuit against you asking the court to terminate your parental rights. Your spouse or other relative can also bring about a lawsuit seeking termination of your parental rights. If you have received notice of a lawsuit seeking termination of your parental rights, consult an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer. Once your parental rights are terminated by a court, you will no longer have any rights over your child. The child’s other parent will have all rights and in cases where the parental rights of both parents have been terminated, the court will appoint a guardian for the child.
As a parent you can voluntarily place your child for adoption. Your spouse must consent for the adoption. Once your child is adopted, you will be asked to waive your parental rights. Once you waive your parental rights after your child has been adopted, you will no longer have any rights over the child. You may be able to enter into an agreement with the adopted parents before the adoption is finalized and specify the rights you wish to retain as the biological parent. Speak to an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer if you are planning to place your child for adoption. You may be able to retain certain rights over the child as the biological parent.
If your marriage ends in a divorce, you can seek custody of the children from your marriage. The court will consider may things before it decides on which parent gets custody of the child. The factors that will be considered include the role each parent has played in the child’s life, the age of the child, the best interest of the child and in case of older children, the preference of the children. Generally, courts in Utah tend to grant custody of younger children to the mother unless it can be shown that granting custody to the mother is not in the best interest of the children. Once the court decides on who gets custody, the other parent – the non custodial parent is generally granted visitation rights.
Again, visitation rights can be denied if it is not in the best interest of the child. If the non custodial parent has in the past physically harmed the child, the court can deny visitation or grant controlled visitation. The non custodial parent will be ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent. Although the payment of child support is made to the custodial parent, the payment is for the child and the custodial parent cannot use the child support payment for personal use. The child support payments must be used for the child’s living, educational and medical expenses. Even if there is a balance amount after paying for the child’s living, educational and medical expenses, the custodial parent still has no right to use the balance amount for personal use. The issues of child custody, visitation and child support will come be considered by the court in an application for annulment of the marriage. While annulment results in the marriage being treated as if it never happened, the obligation to pay child support cannot be wished away.
Grandparent Visitation Rights Law
The custodial parent cannot deny grandparent visitation rights. Grandparents must have access to their grandchildren and the courts in Utah recognize this fact. If you are a grandparent and you are being denied access to your grandchild, consult an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer. You can petition the court to grant access to you. The court will generally grant you access unless it is in the best interest of the child to deny you access. Grandparents can also seek visitation rights in an annulled marriage.
Grandparent Custody Law
If a grandparent believes that the custodial parent is not looking after the child or the child is being harmed by the custodial parent, the grandparent can approach the court and seek custody of the child. Utah courts have given custody of the child to the grandparents in cases where continuing to keep the child in the custody of the custodial parent wasn’t in the best interest of the child. Even if the marriage is annulled, grandparents can seek custody of the grandchildren.
As a parent, you can take medical decisions for your child. You can sign medical forms on behalf of the child and determine the treatment that your child should undergo. As long as you do not risk the life of your child, you have the full right to take medical decisions for your child. In case you are a divorced parent, the court at the time of deciding custody will determine who can take medical decisions on behalf of the minor child. It is important that this issue be settled at the time of the divorce or else it may create problems later especially if the spouses are not on good terms post the divorce.
Teenage Parent Law
Although teenagers are not adults, Utah family law recognizes the rights of teenage parents. If you know any teenage parent seeking assistance with Utah family law, direct them to an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer. Teenage parent have certain rights and duties under Utah family law.
Teenage parents always have the right to make independent decisions about raising their children except when a family court decides that they really can’t handle such decisions. The parent-child relationship is protected by the federal Constitution, and states may not excessively interfere with the way parents raise their children. This right extends to teenage parents and their offspring. For example, the state may not require a couple to abandon custody of a child just because one or both have not reached the age of majority.
As with adult parents, a child can be removed from a teenage parent’s home only if the child has been neglected, mistreated, abused, or abandoned, and then only after a full due process hearing.
Legal Responsibilities Of Teenage Parents
Under Utah law teenage parents have the same responsibilities as adult parents. Teenage parents must provide their offspring with adequate care, nurturing, education and support. These responsibilities exist regardless of whether the child is born outside marriage, and they continue to exist until the child reaches the age of majority, even if a court forbids a parent to visit his or her child.
Consent To Medical Care For The Child
Teenage parents in Utah can consent to medical care for their children, and furthermore, no law requires the involvement of a teen’s parents in such matters.
Legal rights with respect to a child born outside marriage
Teenagers have legal rights with respect to a child born outside marriage. The Constitution gives parents of all ages the right of custody over their minor children. This right always includes children born outside of marriage and children of teenage parents.
When the parents of a child born outside of marriage are involved in a dispute over child custody, a family court will not always award custody to the mother. Courts still regard the mother as the natural guardian of a minor child, particularly a very young child. (This is called the “maternal preference.”) But a mother’s right to custody of a child born outside of marriage is far from absolute — it will yield to the child’s best interests.
As a practical matter, family courts are most likely to award custody to the parent who has been caring for the child since that parent knows the child best. If the parents are unmarried teens, the mother almost always is the caregiver, because teenage fathers rarely live with their children. What this means is that unless a teenage father can convince a court that the mother can’t take care of the child and that he can, the mother will usually be awarded custody.
Even so, a teenage father who wants to take day-to-day responsibility for his child can certainly seek to obtain custody. In a disputed case, if a family court determines that awarding custody to the father is in the child’s best interests, it may make such an award, even if the parents have never lived as a couple under the same roof.
Law on Change of Custody
Family courts hesitate to modify custody arrangements once they have been established. To do so, the circumstances in the child’s home must have changed dramatically, and the court must be convinced that a new home clearly would be in the child’s best interests. If this can be shown, the court might award custody to the child’s father, a grandparent, or another relative. The State of Utah has the power to remove neglected, mistreated, or abandoned children from their homes, either temporarily or permanently. Matters such as these are handled in child protection proceedings in family court.
When a teenage mother has physical custody of a child born outside of marriage, the father is legally entitled to visit the child unless the family court believes that contact with the child isn’t in the child’s best interests. A teenage father has the right to be involved with his offspring unless he has been proved unfit or has forfeited his parental rights.
Voluntarily Adoption Placement
A teenage mother can voluntarily place her child for adoption. The consent of both parents is necessary in order to place a child for adoption, except in cases in which a parent’s rights have already been terminated under Utah law. The consents must be in writing, and they can only be given after the birth of the child.
All parents have certain parental rights and obligations that cannot be just wished away. If as a parent your parental rights are being taken away, you have the right to fight it legally. Remember once the court terminates your parental rights, you will have no rights over your child. Seek the assistance of an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer. Trying to fight the case alone can prove costly. While you may save on the lawyer fee, you could and you will most likely end up losing your parental rights. Your rights as a parent will be taken away and you will no longer be able to take any decision on behalf of your child.
Midway Utah Family Law Attorney Free Consultation
When you need family law legal help in Midway Utah, call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. We can help you with divorce, child support, child custody, division of marital assets, alimony, modification of child support, modification of decree of divorce, adoptions, prenups, postnups, and so much more. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506