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Can Grandparents Have Child Custody Rights In Arizona?

The state of Arizona includes a clause that permits grandparents to visit their grandchildren notwithstanding their parents’ objections. To do so, the grandparent must first overcome the assumption that the parent always acts “in the best interest of the kid,” and then demonstrate that access to the grandparents is in the child’s best interest. This burden must be met by a “preponderance of the evidence” (i.e., the grandmother must prove that visitation is “in the child’s best interest” with a 51 percent likelihood).

According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 21,000 children in Arizona lived in families without a parent in 2010 and were cared for mostly by grandparents.

This figure, more than anything else, demonstrates how powerful a grandparent’s love can be. However, it also means that tens of thousands of grandparents in Arizona are shouldering financial and emotional responsibilities they did not anticipate.

For a variety of circumstances, grandparents may find themselves caring for their grandkids. In certain situations, grandparents are given custody when a parent passes away. In certain cases, they may be called upon to care for their grandchildren because their parents are unable to do so or because the children have been removed from an unsafe family environment.

Grandparent’s Custody Rights

  • Obtaining legal protection can help grandparents safeguard their custody rights and make critical decisions regarding their grandchildren’s education and medical care. It may also allow them to apply for government assistance programs that they would not otherwise be eligible for.
  • If the grandparents are functioning in a parenting role and it would be unsafe or unhealthy for the child to be in the custody of a legal parent, Arizona law enables grandparents to apply for custody. This might be due to a parent’s struggle with substance addiction, medical or mental health difficulties, incarceration, or desertion, among other things. After a child has been removed from a parent’s care and placed in state custody, grandparents can seek custody.
  • If grandparents want to care for their grandchildren indefinitely, it may make sense to terminate the legal parents’ rights so that the grandparents can adopt the child.
  • Parents can utilize a power of attorney to provide grandparents legal authority over a grandchild in short-term conditions (such as military deployment or sickness). Grandparents will be able to enroll their grandchildren in school, get medical treatment, and make other crucial decisions as a result of this. Once the parent is competent to care for the child again, powers of attorney can be readily revoked.
  • If grandparents have legal custody of a kid but have not formally adopted the child, the child’s parents can seek custody of the child at a later time.
  • In rare circumstances, grandparents may opt to return custody to the parents freely. If they refuse, the matter will very certainly have to be settled in court. To develop a child custody agreement that is in the best interests of the kid, the court will consider all of the circumstances in the case. Grandparents who lose custody of their grandchildren may still be eligible to enjoy visiting privileges.
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By Azwatchdog – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5816262

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The attorneys at GillespieShields are well-versed in a variety of different legal fields, ranging from family law to civil suits, employment disputes and probate cases. Although we specialize in several areas of practice, our greatest passion is family law. One of the most important considerations in a divorce is the decision of child custody. The decision of who gets custody of your children is paramount to their quality of life and upbringing. A quality Phoenix child custody attorney can help fight on your child’s behalf. In addition to keeping your child’s best interests in mind, there are also a few considerations that the state of Arizona takes into account. At GillespieShields, our Phoenix & Mesa child custody lawyers have 30 years of experience in all concentrations of family law. We take the time to listen to your story and help you fight for the best interests of your child while keeping parental conflict to a minimum. Contact us today for your consultation! 

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