New Amendments to Utah Family Laws

Legislative session is over in Utah and the following new family laws entered the legal horizon:


1. Dating Violence Protection Act.  Dating parties now can apply for a protective order when

one party commits abuse or dating violence against the other party.


2. Established that parties convicted of certain sex offenses may not get custody of the children

unless the court orders that it is in the best interests of the children to be in the custody of the

convicted parent or the children's guardian consents.


3. Introduced fault in alimony award but only to the extent that fault includes intentionally or knowingly physically or financially harming the spouse or the children.


4. Allowed children as young as 14 to express their opinion in custody cases.  Please note that

children usually express their opinion only if the court decides to inteview them in chambers or

there is a Guardian Ad Litem appointed.  We are not talking about testimony during the custody trial.


5.  Allows adoptive parents and birth parent or other birth relative of the adopting child to enter

into an open adoption agreement.  Such an agreement has to be approved by the court before it is valid.