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The Utah Judiciary is committed to the open, fair, and efficient administration of justice under the law. Find important information on what to do about your case and where to find help on our Alerts and Information Page due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

El poder judicial de Utah está comprometido a la administración de justicia de una manera abierta, justa y eficiente bajo la ley. En nuestra página Información y alertas encontrará información importante sobre qué hacer en cuanto a su caso y dónde encontrar ayuda debido al impacto del brote de COVID-19.

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Finding Legal Help

You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. See the Finding Legal Help page for information about free and low cost ways to get legal help. 

Como encontrar ayuda legal

Usted no está obligado a contratar un abogado, pero los asuntos legales pueden ser complicados. Considere la posibilidad de hablar con un abogado para hablar de sus opciones. Para información sobre cómo obtener ayuda legal vea nuestra página Como encontrar ayuda legal.

Court Visitor Program (CVP)

What is the Court Visitor Program?

Under the Guardianship Reporting and Monitoring Program (GRAMP), the Court Visitor Program (CVP) has the overall goal of improving the lives of incapacitated individuals, assisting guardians, and contributing to district court judges' decisions in guardianship cases.

The CVP utilizes the hard work and effort of volunteers to investigate, observe, and report to the court on specific matters. To assist in the task of providing unbiased, impartial information to the court, the CVP stands by three essential principles:

Elderly woman looking out a window
  1. Being a guardian is a demanding role. A guardian must:
    • Provide for the protected person's care and welfare
    • Manage the protected person's funds prudently and with the protected person's values in mind
    • Make medical treatment decisions—sometimes including end-of-life decisions
    • Decide where the person will live and advocate for effective services
    • Make regular reports to the court
  2. Guardianship is a positive, protective device that helps to keep a person with diminished capacity from harm and helps them to be as independent as possible. Yet, at the same time, guardianship removes the fundamental right of a protected person to make their own decisions, and therefore, should be handled with great care and respect.
  3. Once guardianship or conservatorship is established, the courts maintain continual jurisdiction over the case, and therefore, the welfare of the protected person. With rights removed, it is imperative that the court receive up-to-date, accurate, and impartial information about the protected person, to ensure continuing quality of care.

What is a Court Visitor?

A Court Visitor volunteer (CV) is a special appointee of the court who has no personal interest in the proceedings. The CV is someone the court assigns to investigate and report about the respondent / protected person's conditions and other matters, as the court directs. CVs report on observable facts and collected information, and serve as the "eyes and ears" of the court.

CVs provide an important and integral service in assisting the courts' ability to make informed decisions about guardianship cases.

When is a CV appointed?

Grandfather playing with grandson

Adults have the right to make decisions about their lives. Sometimes an adult becomes incapable of making minimally adequate decisions about medical treatment, daily functions, finances, or other important matters, and as a result, their health and safety are in jeopardy. When an adult loses the capacity to make decisions, they may need special protection.

Guardianship is a legal arrangement through which a person (the guardian) is legally authorized to make decisions for another individual (the protected person). Only the court can grant a guardianship, therefore, the court oversees the process to ensure that individuals under guardianship receive that special protection.

CVs may be called in during different phases of the guardianship process to assist the court:

  • It is expected that the respondent will be present at the hearing. However, if it is proposed that the respondent not attend the hearing, the court must assign a CV to investigate the ability of the respondent to appear.
    (The only exception is if there is clear and convincing evidence from a physician that the respondent has fourth stage Alzheimer's disease, extended coma, or an intellectual disability with an intelligence quotient score under 25.)
  • The court may also assign a CV to investigate and report about the respondent's circumstances, conditions, and other matters, before guardianship is granted.
  • After guardianship has been appointed, the court may request a CV to conduct a well-being investigation, to report on the protected person's welfare and conditions, and to determine if the protected person's needs are being met.
  • CVs may be asked to conduct a records audit, to ensure the protected person's finances and estate are being properly managed.
  • CVs may be asked to complete a whereabouts assignment, when the court has lost contact with the guardian, when required reports are late or missing, and/or to provide training to guardians when reports are incomplete or incorrect.

Additional information:

To learn more about how a Court Visitor fits into the guardianship process, review the following chart: Guardianship Process

CV Responsibilities

The type of work performed within the CVP varies depending on the case type and the individual circumstances of the court order. For example, in some cases, CVs may spend most of their time conducting interviews and talking with people related to the case, while other assignments might result in more time spent reviewing records and related documents.

People talking

CVs use the court order and the court report template to assist as they complete their work. These documents provide direction on the type of case the CV has accepted, individuals they need to interview, the documents and records they may need to access and review, and specific questions the judge may have about the case.

The work of the CV culminates in preparing a report to the court summarizing the extent of their investigation and the information obtained therein. CVs may also attend subsequent hearings related to the case, as appropriate.

Throughout their assignment, CVs serve as a special appointee of the court with no personal interest in the proceedings. Consequently, CVs do not give an opinion or recommendation (unless specifically requested in writing by the judge); rather, they report solely on observable facts and collected information.

Interested in Volunteering?

Volunteering for the CVP is both interesting and rewarding! The CVP currently utilizes the assistance of dozens of trained CVs from a variety of backgrounds, and the program is always looking for additional volunteers.

While the CVP is managed through the Administrative Office of the Courts in Salt Lake City, the program includes volunteers from across the state. The CVP can provide on-site training and ongoing assistance to volunteers, regardless of where in the state they are located.

For details on becoming a CV and access to the application process, visit: Volunteering for the Court Visitor Program (CVP)

Requesting a CV

A petitioner, respondent, or any interested party may request that a CV be assigned. The court may also assign a CV on its own initiative. In most cases, requests are made through to the CVP.

The steps for an interested party to request a CV are relatively simple. To begin the process:

  • Complete the form, Request to Assign a Court Visitor (found below under "Forms and Resources"
  • File the original form and certificate of service with court staff.
  • Contact the CVP to inform staff that you have filed a request to assign a court visitor. The CVP will follow up with court personnel on your request.

After the CVP receives a request through official court channels, the Court Visitor Program Coordinator will:

  • review the request information and identify available CVs;
  • ascertain the information needed for the court order (e.g., deadlines);
  • complete a court order and submit for the judge's signature; and
  • assign a CV to the case

Although the CVP manages a cadre of volunteer CVs to assist in court cases, a petition can also request a named individual outside of the CVP be assigned as court visitor. In these cases, the proposed court visitor must be trained in law, nursing, or social work and have no personal interest in the proceedings, per Utah Code Section 75-5-308.

Forms and Resources

  • Request to Assign a Court Visitor - PDF | Word
    • Assign a Court Visitor Checklist - PDF | Word

Additional Resources

The following links provide additional information related to guardianship:

Contact Information

Guardianship Reporting and Monitoring Program (GRAMP)

Administrative Office of the Courts
450 South State Street
P.O. Box 140241
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Fax: 801-578-3843
Email: visitor@utcourts.gov

GRAMP Program Coordinator

Shonna Thomas
Email: shonnat@utcourts.gov
Phone: 801-578-3925

Court Visitor Program Coordinator

Michelle Wilkes
Email: michellew@utcourts.gov
Phone: 801-238-7030

The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.


Page Last Modified: 3/30/2020
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