It can be heartbreaking to be separated from a child you are close to. Fortunately, in Arizona the courts will often award visitation rights, regardless of whether you are one of the child’s parents. Here is everything you need to know about getting visitation rights in Arizona.
Getting Visitation Rights as a Parent
In Arizona, parenting rights are split up into two categories, decision-making rights and parenting time. The courts may determine that it’s not in the child’s best interests for you to have custody of your child, but if so, you can file for visitation rights. Visitation will enable you to maintain a relationship with your child even if you’re not in a position to care for them yourself right now.
Getting Visitation Rights as a Non-Parent
In some situations, it may be appropriate for someone other than a parent to file for visitation rights. For example, if you are a grandparent who has been denied time with your grandchildren since your child’s divorce, or if your child has died or gone missing and the other parent is denying you access to your grandchildren, you can file for court-ordered visitation rights. If the court find it is in the child’s best interests, they will mandate visitation so that you’ll have an opportunity to maintain your relationship with the child.
What’s Best for the Child
In Arizona, the entire structure of child custody and visitation is designed around what is best for the child. The courts approach each case with the assumption that it’s in the child’s best interests to maintain relationships with both parents and other family members, unless there is a factor that will put them at risk. For example, Arizona prefers to award shared decision-making and parenting time to both parents, unless there’s a reason why one parent could be a potential danger to the child. Domestic violence, substance abuse, and abandonment are just a few of the reasons why Arizona courts might find one parent to be an inappropriate guardian for a child.
Getting visitation in Arizona as a grandparent or other non-parent, or as a parent who has been denied custody, will require proving that it’s in the child’s best interests to maintain a relationship with you. With so much riding on how your case is presented, it’s important to have an experienced family attorney representing you. A lawyer who knows the ins and outs of Arizona family law can make a strong case that continued contact with you is in the child’s best interests. For more information about how visitation rights work in Arizona, or to schedule a consultation to assess your individual case, contact Simon Law Group. PLLC, today.