Grandparents Rights in the State of Arizona

grandparents rights in the state of arizona

Grandparents Rights in the State of Arizona

During custody and visitation disputes in Arizona, the rights of the child’s grandparents are often overlooked. The rights of grandparents are included in the section about third party rights in Arizona law. Just like the parents have a right to obtain legal counsel during disputes to custody and visitation, third parties (including grandparents) have the same right attached to their visitation and even custody in Arizona.

The Law of Third Party Rights

A.R.S. § 25-409 describes the rights of third parties in family law and the child in question. The court often takes an in-depth look at the relationship that the child and these parties have with one another. For grandparents who are merely looking for visitation with their grandchild, the court will have to examine the following to see if it applies:

  • A legal parent has passed or has been missing for at least three months (for this, missing requires an unknown location of the parent for three months, and a missing person report has been filed with local law enforcement)
  • The child was born out of wedlock, and the parents are not married at the time a petition is filed for grandparent visitation
  • Exclusively for grandparents or great-grandparents, the marriage of the child’s parents has to be dissolved at least three months
  • The separation or divorce of legal parents is pending

Additional Considerations Made By the Court

The court is only interested in what is best for the well-being of a child involved in the legal proceedings. When grandparents or great-grandparents file a petition for visitation, the court will see if it falls under the best interest of the child. To determine this, the courts will look at:

  • The relationship the party has with the child they are seeking the visitation with
  • The motivation behind the party requesting the visitation
  • The motivation behind the person that has denied them the visitation
  • How much visitation the grandparent or great-grandparent is requesting with the child and if it will have an adverse impact on that child’s life and activities
  • The benefit that maintaining this relationship will have, especially if one or both parents are deceased

Grandparents Seeking Custody

For a grandparent to obtain custody of their grandchild in Arizona, under A.R.S. 25-409, they must be able to prove the following are accurate to the court:

  • The person filing the petition stands in loco parentis (in place of the parent) to the child the custody case is filed for
  • There is a significant detriment leaving the child in the custody of their living legal parents
  • A court of competent jurisdiction hasn’t entered an order concerning custody within a year before the filing of the petition unless imminent danger is believed to endanger the child
    • One of the following applies to the situation:
    • One of the child’s legal parents is deceased
    • The parents of the child are not married at the time of the petition
    • A pending divorce or legal separation of the parents is pending at the time of the petition

Legal Representation for Grandparents

An Arizona lawyer who specializes in family law procedures can help those grandparents seeking visitation or custody of a grandchild. These lawyers understand the specifics that the court will ask for, and they can help build the case for the grandparent. If you are a grandparent looking to obtain visitation or custody of your grandchild, the legal expertise of a family law lawyer in Arizona can help you with your case.