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Grandparents’ Rights in Arizona

Today more and more grandparents in Arizona are seeking visitation or custody of their grandchildren for a number of reasons. Sometimes parents die or parents are unfit to take care of their children. Grandparents have to step in and take a parental role in their grandchildren’s lives.

Arizona courts recognize that it is beneficial for children to have contact with grandparents and great grandparents. Many grandparents have gone to court in order to get visitation rights to see their grandchildren. Under Arizona law, grandparents can assert their legal rights to gain access to their grandchildren. It is essential to talk to a lawyer to explore all your legal options on how to get Arizona grandparents visitation rights. 

Scottsdale Grandparents’ Rights Attorney

At the Daly Law Firm, we are experienced and knowledgeable about grandparent’s visitation rights in Arizona. We handle a wide range of family law matters in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, and the surrounding areas of Maricopa County. It is possible to have a smooth court process if you use the Daly Law Firm because I give my clients the utmost attention. I am here to answer all of your child custody questions in regards to enforcing your visitation rights.

What is the process in Arizona for getting visitation with my grandchildren?

Under Arizona Revised Statutes §25-409 a grandparent is allowed to request court-ordered visitation in certain circumstances. When requesting grandparent visitation in Arizona you must establish to the court that visitation with the grandparent is in the best interest of the child. Once that burden is met the following conditions need to be present for the grandparents to assert their legal rights:

  • One of the legal parents is deceased for at least 3 months;
  • The child’s legal parents are divorced for at least 3 months; or
  • The child was born out of wedlock.

The court also considers the following factor in determining whether or not visitation with the grandparents is reasonable:

  • The historical relationship between the child and the grandparents
  • The motivation of the grandparents for seeking visitation
  • The motivation of the parents or legal guardian for denying visitation
  • The quantity of visitation time requested and the potential adverse impact that visitation will have on the child’s routine
  • If one or both of the child’s parents are dead, the benefit in maintaining an extended family relationship.

The court will determine if the visitation is logistically possible and appropriate for the child. In cases of divorce it would be a good idea to try to file a petition for visitation rights in the same divorce proceeding instead of a separate action. However depending on family dynamics it might not be feasible or possible to do that. If the grandparents cannot join their visitation request with the divorce action, then they can file a separate visitation motion.

What is the process in Arizona for getting custody of my grandchildren?

To get custody grandparent custody in Arizona you have to establish that you stand “in the place of a parent” in order to bring an action to get custody of a grandchild. In Arizona, the grandparent would have to prove to the court that the grandchild has a meaningful relationship with the grandparent for a substantial period of time. The grandparent also has to establish to the court that it would be harmful for the legal parents of the child to have custody.

Under the Arizona Revised Statutes §25-415, the grandparents’ petition for child custody will have to prove the following things for an “In Loco Parentis” or “In the place of a Parent” custody action to go forward:

  • The person filing the petition stands in loco parentis to the child. This means that there is a significant parent/child type relationship already in place between the grandparent and grandchild.

  • It would be detrimental to the child to remain or be placed in the custody of either of the child’s living legal parents who wish to retain or obtain custody.

  • A court of competent jurisdiction has not entered or approved an order concerning the child’s custody within one year before the person filed this petition, unless the child is in a situation that would cause serious harm to his or her physical, emotional, moral, or mental health.

    Also one of the following conditions apply:

    1. One of the legal parents is deceased.
    2. The child’s legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.
    3. There is a pending divorce proceeding of the legal parents at the time the petition is filed.

The grandparent needs to file a petition supported by an affidavit in the county in which the child is a permanent resident. The petition needs to include facts supporting the petitioner’s right to file the claim. The grandparent also needs to provide notice to the legal parents by either including this petition with the divorce petition or a separate filing. Under the Arizona Revised Statutes, the grandparent must give notice to the following people:

  • The child’s parents
  • A person who has court ordered custody or visitation rights
  • A person or agency that has physical custody of the child or claims to have custody or visitation rights
  • Any other person or agency that has previously appeared in the action.

In most cases grandparent child custody cases the parents will be the only ones that need to receive notice, but depending on the family situation there could be a lot more people legally involved in the child’s life. It is important to discuss your case with an attorney so that you will be able to file your request for custody appropriately. It is beneficial to seek out the advice of an experienced Arizona grandparent child custody lawyer before starting any custody action in court.

Resources – Resource for activities that grandparents and grandchildren can do together

National Grandparents Day – Official website for National Grandparents Day with a history of events and family oriented activities

Daly Law Firm | Phoenix Grandparent Child Visitation / Custody Lawyer

In child custody cases, it's best to get legal advice from the very beginning of your divorce to ensure your rights are protected and you are able to maintain legal and physical custody over your child. The Daly Law Firm has the knowledge and experience to help you successfully reach a child custody agreement in Arizona. If you are going through a divorce in the Scottsdale, Phoenix, or another community within the Maricopa County area, don’t hesitate to call us at (480) 607-8308 for a free consultation regarding your child custody questions and concerns.

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