The Appellate Group

In re J.T.

In re J.T., 2023 UT App 157 (Luthy, J.)

Child Welfare

Children were removed from Mother, and Grandmother moved to intervene in the child welfare proceeding. The district court denied her motion, but the Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding:

  • Under section 80-3-302 of the Utah Code, Grandmother has a statutory right to receive preferential consideration to her grandchildren’s placement.
  • Practice tip: Courts apply the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure in juvenile proceedings unless they are inconsistent with the Utah Rules of Juvenile Procedure.
  • Practice tip: Parties moving to intervene in a child welfare proceeding under rule 24(a)(2) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure must claim a legally protected interest. Courts will likely not grant the motion under rule 24(a)(2) when limited-purpose intevenor status is available.
  • Practice tip: Grandparents have an inchoate right or interest in the custody and welfare of their grandchildren that matures only upon the death or termination of the right of the children’s parents. Grandparents do not have a legally protectable right to have their grandchildren placed close to them or with a relative.

Read the full court opinion