Arizona Grandparent Visitation Rights
Divorce affects all members of the family. Grandparents often have concerns about their ability to continue having a relationship with grand-kids following the separation of the parents. In Arizona grandparent visitation rights are made possible and here’s the procedure that will have to be followed.
Arizona Grandparent Visitation Laws
Arizona Revised Statutes 25-409 suggests that grandparents could get visitation rights whenever a Superior Court judge establishes that the contact is in the best interest of the child. Three additional conditions will have to be met for grandparent visitation to be granted:
- The parents of the child need to be divorced for at least months prior to the request for grandparent visitation rights
- A parent should have been deceased or missing from the child’s life for at least three months
- A child was born out of wedlock
The court will examine a number of additional factors to determine whether grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the child. The relationship between the grandparent and the child in question is obviously one of the biggest essentials. Additionally, the court will look at the reason why visitation rights are being sought, the reason why a parent may be denying grandparent visitation, the amount of visitation time requested by the grandparent and the benefits a child will get out of having a close relationship with the respective individual.
Grandparent Visitation Rights: The Procedure
The first step is to complete and file the court forms needed to petition for visitation rights. The most important document is the Petition to Establish Grandparent Visitation.
Following the filing of the court documents, the other interested parties will need to be served with papers concerning the upcoming Superior Court procedure. Usually, either one or both parents will have to be notified.
After these two preliminary steps are completed, a court date will have to be set. Meanwhile, a party that disagrees with the conditions of the visitation request will get the chance to file a response. Whenever a response is filed, the court must set a trial date for the issue between the parent and the grandparent to be resolved.
Following the court procedure, a final order will be issued. If grandparents are granted visitation rights, the court order should provide additional information about when and for how long visitations can occur.
Adoption and Grandparent Visitation Rights
A situation that could make things somewhat more complicated is being the grandparent of a child that is placed for adoption. Could anything be done in such instances to ensure the continuous contact between the grandparent and the child?
Arizona law states that visitation rights for grandparents are automatically discontinued whenever a parent places a child for adoption.
The adoption process ends the legal relationship between grandparent and child. The same applies to all other relatives and members of the extended family. In the event of a child being removed from their adoptive home, the court could make an individual ruling to reinstate the visitation rights of the grandparents.
Arizona grandparent visitation rights will remain intact in one specific scenario – whenever the child is adopted by a relative of the parent.
So, let’s imagine the following scenario. A boy lives with his father and stepmom. The mom discontinues her relationship with the child and the stepmother files adoption papers. Whenever the adoption is granted, the maternal grandmother will no longer have the right to ask for visitation rights.
As you can see, visitation right battles can become complicated under specific circumstances. This is why legal assistance will have to be sought. A court will typically grant visitation whenever it benefits the child and if logistically possible. Even if access to the grandchild is being denied, there are still things an experienced attorney can do to turn things around.