Being separated from a grandchild you love is difficult, especially if you have concerns about the child’s well-being. Arizona does provide for grandparent rights, so you may have legal avenues you can take. Here is everything you need to know about how to apply for grandparents rights.
Grandparent Visitation or Custody?
The first thing to consider is what kind of resolution you’re looking for, as that’ll change how to apply for grandparents’ rights. Grandparents can seek two different kinds of rights in Arizona, depending on the situation: court-ordered visitation, or actual custody of the child. Visitation ensures that you will be able to maintain your relationship with the child as they grow, while custody will give you all the rights and responsibilities of a parent, usually to get a child out of a dangerous situation. Arizona courts make their decisions based on the best interests of the child, so you’ll need to prepare your case ahead of time with the help of an experienced family law attorney.
Here is everything you need to know about how to apply for grandparents’ rights, both visitation and custodial.
How To Apply for Grandparents’ Visitation
If you are simply trying to maintain a relationship with your grandchild, you may be able to get court-ordered visitation. In order to petition for grandparents’ visitation, at least one of the following will need to be true:
- There is a pending divorce
- The parents were divorced at least three months ago
- The child was born out of wedlock
- One of the parents has passed away or has been missing for at least three months.
If your situation meets one of these criteria, the first step will be to file a petition with the court. You will also need to serve the parents with papers. Depending on the parents’ response to the petition, the case may need to go to court, in which case, the court will decide based on what’s in the child’s best interests. It’s important to work with your attorney to prepare a strong case demonstrating the strength of your relationship with the child and any other factors the court should take into consideration.
How To Seek Grandparent Custody
In some situations, it may be beneficial or even necessary for grandparents to seek full custody of their grandchild. As with grandparent visitation cases, you will need to file a petition with Arizona courts. In a child custody case, however, you will need to demonstrate that it’s not in the best interests of the child to remain with either parents. For instance, if both parents (or a sole living parent) are unable to fulfill their obligations due to substance abuse or abandonment, or they have a history of physical abuse, you may have a case for getting custody. The outcome may hinge on your ability to build a strong case in court, so good legal representation is important.
The Case for Grandparents’ Rights
It can be upsetting to be in a position where you worry about your grandchild’s well-being or your future relationship with them, and if you’re in this situation, you may have wondered many times how to apply for grandparents’ rights. Fortunately, Arizona courts do recognize the important role that grandparents play in a child’s life. For more information about how to apply for grandparents’ rights, contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today to discuss your case.