Grandparents sometimes encounter circumstances in Arizona in which they need to get custody of their grandchildren. In other situations, the children’s parents might prevent the grandparents from having visits with their grandchildren.
Arizona recognizes grandparent’s rights to seek visitation even when a parent objects.
Whether your grandchildren’s parents are unfit and unable to take care of your grandchildren or are preventing you from seeing them, you should talk to the experienced legal paraprofessional at De Novo Law. Stephanie Villalobos, LP is a licensed legal paraprofessional with more than three decades of experience helping people with family law matters, and she can provide legal representation to you at a more affordable price than an attorney.
Ms. Villalobos is authorized to handle many types of cases, including those involving grandparent’s rights in Arizona.
Help with Establishing Grandparent’s Visitation Rights
Under ARS 25-402, people who are not a child’s parents, including their grandparents, can file a petition with the court to ask for parenting time or visitation rights. The process for filing a petition for third-party or grandparent visitation rights and the requirements that must be met are outlined in ARS 25-409.
When grandparents file a petition to establish their visitation rights, the court will first consider whether doing so would be in the best interests of the child. If visitation would be in the child’s best interests, the court may grant visitation in any of the following situations:
- One of the parents has been missing for at least three months or is deceased.
- The child was born out of wedlock to unmarried parents.
- The parents have been divorced for three months or longer.
- If the grandparent has stood in loco parentis to the child, the parents must have a pending legal separation or divorce.
The court will not grant visitation rights to you unless it finds that doing so would be in your grandchild’s best interests.
The court considers the following factors when deciding whether granting visitation rights would be in the best interests of the child:
- The past relationship the child enjoyed with the grandparent
- What motivated the grandparent to seek visitation rights
- What motivated the parent to deny the grandparent’s ability to visit the child
- The amount of visitation requested and whether it might negatively impact the child’s participation in regular activities
- When one parent is deceased, whether the child would benefit from maintaining a relationship with the deceased parent’s extended family
Grandchildren often have special relationships with their grandparents. When a parent keeps the grandchildren away from their grandparents, it can be hard for both the grandchild and grandparent.
If grandparent visitation is granted, the times of the visitation will be ordered to occur during the time of the parent’s regular visitation for the parent who is the grandparent’s relative.
If the parent is deceased, grandparent visitation might be ordered to occur at the times the deceased parent would have enjoyed parenting time with the child.
De Novo Law can help you to file a petition to establish your visitation rights as a grandparent and represent your interests if the child’s parent objects.
Help With Securing Custody as a Grandparent
If your grandchild’s parents are unfit, you might want to pursue custody so you can make important decisions on behalf of your grandchildren. A court will summarily deny this type of petition for grandparent’s rights in Arizona unless you can present evidence showing that all of the following are true:
- You stand in loco parentis to your grandchild.
- The child would be harmed if he or she was placed in the parent’s care who is asking for custody.
- The court has not issued a legal decision-making order within the past year unless the child’s current situation endangers him or her emotionally, physically, mentally, or morally.
- One of the parents is deceased, or the parents are not married, or the parents are divorcing.
A grandparent who stands in loco parentis to a child serves in a parental role.
Whenever you file a petition for custody as a grandparent, you will need to overcome the presumption that it is in the child’s best interests to remain in the custody of the parent(s).
You will have the burden of proof to show by clear and convincing evidence that it would not be in your grandchild’s best interests to be placed in the parent’s custody. This means that you will need to present evidence showing that your grandchild would be in danger physically, mentally, morally, or emotionally if the child was allowed to continue living in the parent’s home.
Get Help From De Novo Law with Grandparent’s Rights in Arizona
Stephanie Villalobos, LP is the founder of De Novo Law. She is licensed to practice many aspects of family law matters without the supervision of a divorce attorney and has more than 30 years of experience helping people with different types of cases, including grandparent’s’ rights in Arizona.
Contact De Novo Law today to learn more about your rights and legal options.
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