Grandparents fill an important role in raising today’s children, commonly stepping in and taking care of young ones where parents cannot. Often more financially stable than their children, grandparents may also be able to offer essential monetary support. As such, the law outlines specific and limited Grandparents’ Rights in Arizona to assist in the visitation, care, and even custody or adoption of children post-divorce.
If the visitation rights of grandparents were not settled during the divorce- or if a grandparent or great grandparent relative disapproves of the court’s findings- he or she may petition for visitation. While family law in Phoenix, AZ was amended to implement grandparents’ rights 30 years ago, elderly relatives must still prove their contact is in the best interest of the child.
To determine this “best interest”, Arizona parental rights laws require that the Court considers common-sense factors, like the existing nature of the relationship between parent, grandparent, and child, as well as five statutory laws (such as how much visitation the grandparent is seeking and what they feel the effect may be on the child(ren). Emergency situations like parental death and naturally occurring events such as divorce exceeding three months, also provide grounds for visitation. In some interesting cases, if grandparents can prove that the marriage wasn’t legal or that the child was born out of wedlock, visitation is typically granted.
When to Call a Grandparents Rights Lawyer
The process for obtaining full custody or the right to adopt is naturally more complex, but entirely possible if the grandparents meet certain requirements. Full custody must be preceded by a petition for temporary custody, which is not always easy to obtain. Then, the right to petition for full custody or adoption can only take place under one of the following four circumstances:
- It is dangerous for the child to remain in parental custody, making the relocation of the child necessary for their own safety
- The parents were never legally married, are getting divorced or separated, or one parent has died or gone missing for more than three months
- No custody decisions were made in the last calendar year (potential harm to the child voids this)
- The grandparent is acting in place of the parent by providing most of their essential care (known as “in loco parentis”)
Grandparents’ rights laws in Arizona are unique in that they also extend the same rights to great-grandparents. However, in any state, an outside adoption annuls any and all visitation rights, unless it was awarded to a stepparent. For any questions or concerns about visitation rights with grandchildren, please call an experienced divorce attorney in Phoenix. At Simon Law Group of AZ, attorneys are available to take calls and set up free initial consultations 24 hours a day.