Custody Rights For Grandparents In Arizona:
What Are My Rights?
Grandparents in Arizona enjoy many of the same rights as parents when it comes to raising and caring for their grandchildren. If you are a grandparent who has been awarded custody or visitation, then here is what you need to know about your rights and obligations:
Many children in Arizona may have grandparents or other third parties who play an important role in their lives. Many grandparents and other third parties form close and loving relationships with their grandchildren, and they may form strong bonds with them. It can be harmful to both the child and the third party when a parent prevents a grandparent or other third party from seeing the child.
Child visitation and custody cases were traditionally decided between the parents of the children. The Arizona legislature, on the other hand, amended the family laws in 1983, adding Arizona Revised Statute 25-409. Third-party petitions for visitation or custody, such as those filed by grandparents, are covered by this law. Under A.R.S. § 25-409(C), a grandparent may petition the court for visitation with his or her grandchild. The court may grant the grandparent’s visitation petition if the court finds that doing so is in the child’s best interests. The court must also find that one of these factors exists:
- the child’s parents have been divorced for at least three months;
- a parent of the child has died or gone missing for at least three months; or
- the child was born out of wedlock.
In determining whether grandparent visitation is in the best interests of the child, the court will consider all relevant factors, including:
- the relationship between the child and the person seeking visitation;
- the motivation of the requesting party in seeking visitation;
- the motivation of the person denying visitation; and
- the quantity of visitation time requested and whether it will have an impact on the child’s development.
Grandparents may be forced to seek custody of their grandchildren in certain circumstances. According to Arizona law, grandparents who have “walked in the shoes” of the parent may be entitled to custody. Custody in this situation is known as “in loco parentis” custody. A person who has been treated as a parent by the child for a significant period of time and has formed a meaningful parental relationship with the child is said to be “in loco parentis.”
According to Arizona Statute – A.R.S 25-409, a grandparent must demonstrate that all of the following are true in order to obtain custody:
- The person who files the petition is the child’s legal guardian.
- Remaining or being placed in the custody of either of the child’s living legal parents who wish to retain or obtain custody would be extremely harmful to the child.
- Unless there is reason to believe the child’s current environment may seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health, a court of competent jurisdiction has not entered or approved an order concerning the child’s custody within one year before the person filed a petition pursuant to this section.
- One of the following situations exists:
- One of the legal parents has already passed away.
- The legal parents of the child are not married at the time the petition is filed.
- At the time the petition is filed, a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the legal parents is pending.
Under Arizona law, there is a rebuttable presumption that awarding custody to a legal parent is in the best interests of the child. This is because our legislature has determined that a child’s physical, psychological, and emotional needs are best met when he or she is raised by his or her parents in normal circumstances. Grandparents, on the other hand, can overcome this presumption if they can show, through clear and convincing evidence, that awarding custody to a legal parent is not in the best interests of the child.
Grandparent visitation rights in Arizona are governed by state law. The courts will look at what the best interest is for the child, and whether or not granting a grandparent custody would be beneficial for that particular family situation. If you’re wondering how much time your grandchildren spend with their grandparents, it’s important to speak up about this issue before any problems arise!
Are You Looking for a Family Law Attorney You Can Trust?
The decision of child custody is one that needs to be made with careful consideration. One might think it’s a simple matter, but there are many responsibilities and decisions involved in the process. The courts will want to know who has cared for your children most often; how much time you spend together as parents each week; if either parent abuses drugs or alcohol excessively (or have done so in the past); where would your kids live best – near their other family members? 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. Whether you’re filing for dissolution or divorce, determining custody of your children, or thinking about adopting children, our experienced attorneys are here to help you every step of the way. During our private, one-on-one consultation, we’ll take the necessary time to answer all of your questions surrounding Arizona’s family laws, your family’s unique situation, and the possible court outcomes. Contact us today for your consultation!
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