In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a "mere disagreement" over a child's best interests cannot override the presumption in favor of a fit parent's decision regarding grandparent visitation.

This week, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that grandparents seeking to override parents must present proof that a visitation order is narrowly tailored to advance a compelling governmental interest—such as protecting children against substantial harm.

In Ellie and Tracy Jones Sr.'s dispute with their former daughter-in-law over visitation with their granddaughter, the couple argued that they had acted in a parent-like role as caregivers. But the state Supreme Court said there was insufficient evidence of such a relationship and upheld a Utah Court of Appeals decision that invalidated a visitation order issued against the wishes of the mother. Anthony Kaye, an attorney who represents the mother, said Friday that the ruling will subject grandparent visitation orders to strict scrutiny and limit interference in parental decisions regarding visitation.

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