Family Law Attorney in Utah
Fathers Rights Specialized Representation Tailored to Your Goals

Salt Lake County Fathers’ Rights Lawyer

Protecting the Rights of Fathers in Draper & throughout Utah County

Father with custody of childFathers’ rights are rights that men have to be parents to their children. They allow a man to exercise parental control over his children and take an active role in their lives. The United States is facing a broken family epidemic as children are growing up without involved fathers. Divorce or separation does not have to mean separation from the children. As long as the children are not in danger physically or emotionally, they need their dads.

It is in a child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents. The adults in the relationship have a responsibility to work together to accomplish this. Even if they can’t get along, parents need to stand united on this front – for the kids. It is important that both parents understand their rights as well as their former partner’s rights.

If you believe that your rights as a father are being threatened or violated, turn to the team at Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC in Draper. Our fathers’ rights lawyers can serve as your voice and help you regain and exercise your parental rights.

Contact us at (801) 515-4133 to get started with a consultation.

Fathers’ Custody Rights

Custody rights are divided into two parts: physical and legal. Physical custody determines where the child lives, while legal custody determines who makes important decisions about the child regarding healthcare, education, and other issues.

Most of the time, the courts determine that joint legal custody is in the best interest of the child. The only time this is not the case is when a parent’s environment is not deemed safe, such as when there is domestic violence or drug use.

The types of custody arrangements that Utah courts recognize include:

  • Joint physical and joint legal
  • Sole physical and joint legal
  • Sole physical and sole legal
  • Split custody

If the parents agree to any type of joint custody – whether it is legal, physical, or both – they must create a parenting plan and file it with the court for approval. This is done to ensure that the custody arrangement and parenting plan are in the child’s best interests.


Paternity is simply fatherhood. Establishing paternity means naming the father so he is legally recognized. This is most common when an unmarried woman gives birth to a child. In that case, the biological father does not have any legal rights or duties that come with being a father, unlike a married couple where the legal rights are automatically assigned.

Under Utah law, the mother, father, child, or state can legally establish the father’s paternity. When this occurs, the unmarried parents are afforded the same rights that a married couple would have then they have a child.

Fathers’ Visitation Rights

In Utah, visitation is referred to as “parent time.” This is the time that the non-custodial parent gets to spend with the child. If the parents are not able to create an acceptable schedule for parent time, Utah law provides a schedule that is based on the minimum time limits. The court can also order a parent time schedule if necessary.

Custodial Interference

Custodial interference occurs when one parent attempts to keep the child or children from the other parent who is entitled to visitation. This may include hiding the child, enticing them, taking the child away from the parent, or withholding the child and denying visitation. In the state of Utah, custodial interference is a misdemeanor.

Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is when one parent says or expresses a negative attitude that turns the children against their other parent. It is a serious issue that often requires therapy for the child and parents.

If you are a father and suspect you are the victim of parental alienation, you do not need to face this situation on your own. You should immediately find a trusted Salt Lake County fathers’ rights attorney and begin action to repair the parent-child relationship.

Protect your rights as a father by contacting Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC at (801) 515-4133.


Real Clients. Real Results. 
  • Gavin S.

    Eric did an awesome job.

  • Mallory H.

    I would definitely refer them to others for any legal needs!

  • Amy Lee

    He is very prompt with his responses to emails and phone calls which makes the process less stressful.

  • Dalisa

    This was all so stress free. I’m extremely great full for Preston and his staff for putting forth all the time to help me out!

  • Bart

    Highly recommend Eric and Preston without reservation. Their fees are more than reasonable and their service more than expected.

  • Nicolle G.

    I have had an absolutely positive experience through and through with them. They’re professional, empathetic, and ethical. I wish ...

  • Thomas M.

    He handled all matters promptly and thoroughly. He cares deeply about his clients and makes sure their needs are fully understood.

  • Jared H.

    All issues were handled in a very timely and transparent manner.

  • Bethany

    He and his office were conscientious about my financial needs and made sure I knew when charges were going to be made, so it ...

  • Logan

    I couldn’t be more pleased with the results and would definitely recommend Eric to anyone looking for a fantastic lawyer and a ...

  • Sean K.

    Working with Eric was a breeze. He addressed my concerns and laid out several options that were unique to my situation.

  • Robin S.

    If it wasn't for Eric and Preston, I wouldn't have gotten custody of my 2 children.

Meet Our Team

Professional. Confident. Approachable.
  • Eric M. Swinyard Photo
    Eric M. Swinyard

    Founding Attorney

    Eric M. Swinyard is a divorce and family law attorney who serves clients throughout the State of Utah. Eric’s practice is primarily focused on providing personalized, high-quality legal services to individuals involved in divorces, paternity actions, adoptions, estate planning, and other family law matters. It’s incredibly easy to be taken advantage of during litigation, especially if you are unrepresented by legal counsel. Protect Your Rights You don’t want to be in a situation where you need ...
  • Ryan  Ficklin Photo
    Ryan Ficklin


    Ryan Ficklin is an associate attorney at Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC. Prior to practicing law in Utah, Ryan practiced family law in Southern California. In 2017, Ryan relocated back to his home state of Utah to focus on serving the people of Utah who need legal representation, particularly in the family law realm. Ryan graduated with honors from California’s Whittier Law School in May of 2015. While in law school, Ryan was a staff member for The Journal of Child and Family Advocacy. Ryan ...
  • Keith L. Johnson Photo
    Keith L. Johnson


    Keith joined Eric M. Swinyard & Associates in Fall 2020, bringing more than a decade of experience as a trial attorney in various types of legal cases. He has successfully guided hundreds of individuals through Utah’s court system. Keith previously worked at an established civil litigation firm in Salt Lake as well as a mid-sized regional law firm. He has substantive experience in a variety of practice areas and is now primarily devoted to serving individuals involved in family law cases. Keith ...
  • Mark  Hales Photo
    Mark Hales


    Mark Hales has over 17 years of legal experience in the areas of family, criminal, and civil law. He handles all types of domestic matters, including custody, divorce, child support, alimony, annulment, termination of parental rights, paternity, modifications, and adoptions. In addition, he defends clients charged with domestic violence and abuse, stalking, violations of protective orders, and other and criminal charges. Mark is a certified mediator for all legal matters and is also a certified ...
  • Justin  Stringfellow Photo
    Justin Stringfellow


    Justin Stringfellow has practiced family law in Utah for 20 years, bringing a wealth of experience to Eric Swinyard & Associates in areas such as divorce, custody, paternity, modifications, child support, and adoption proceedings. In the early years of his career, Justin appeared on an estimated 1,500 Protective Order matters. He is an expert in dealing with abuse and domestic violence components in family law matters. As such, he was distinguished by Utah's Domestic Violence Coalition. Justin ...
  • Eliza  Crespo Photo
    Eliza Crespo


    Eliza Crespo is an associate attorney at Eric Swinyard & Associates. Prior to joining the firm, Eliza practiced estate planning in Utah. Eliza offers a fresh set of eyes to difficult situations and is passionate about providing excellent and compassionate legal services to her clients. Through personal experience, she appreciates the impact of a listening ear and an effective advocate, especially during times of challenge or transition. Eliza obtained her bachelor’s degree and law degree from ...

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