Grandparents Rights Attorney Arizona | 3rd Party Rights
pursue your rights as a grandparent and make a difference in your grandchild’s life

Arizona Grandparents’ Rights

Parents aren’t the only people concerned about a child’s welfare. Many grandparents share special bonds with their grandchildren and would do anything to keep them safe. Because of this, extended family can be an excellent resource to help a child when the parents are going through difficult divorce proceedings or are otherwise unable to give the care that the child needs.

If you are a concerned grandparent looking for assistance with legal matters involving your grandchildren in Arizona, know that you may have the right to establish visitation or even assume parenting time. An experienced family lawyer can help you assert your rights and ensure your grandchildren’s best interests.

Grandparents can be an essential part of their grandchildren’s lives, especially if the child’s parents are unable to provide proper care, but it is crucial to establish grandparents’ rights with the help of a skilled family attorney. The Valley Law Group is composed of accomplished family lawyers who have committed their careers to helping Valley residents advocate for children.

We have worked with countless grandparents and other family members to achieve the best interests of the children involved. Whether you’re a grandparent looking to obtain visitation rights or the situation calls for establishing permanent parenting time, The Valley Law Group can help.

Grandparents’ Rights in Arizona

Every state addresses the rights of grandparents and other non-parent family members differently. In Arizona, Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-409 enables grandparents to petition for parenting time, visitation, and decision-making rights. However, the court must deem that it is in the best interests of the child for any rights to be formally granted to a grandparent.

For a grandparent to petition for parenting time or decision-making rights in Arizona, the following conditions must be met:

  • The individual filing the petition must stand “in Loco Parentis,” which means they are acting in the place of a parent
  • The court has determined that it would be “significantly detrimental” to let a child remain in the care of one or both legal parents
  • The individual filing the petition does not have any current parenting time or decision-making orders in place from the past year; if orders were in place and they want to file again, they must believe the child is seriously endangered.
  • One of these applies to the individual’s situation:
    • One of the child’s legal guardians has died
    • The child’s legal guardians are not married during the filing
    • Divorce or legal separation proceedings are currently pending when the petition is filed

Before approval, the court must agree that visitation would be in the best interests of the child.

In addition, one of these situations must be true:

  • One of the child’s legal parents is deceased
  • One of the child’s legal parents has been missing for 90 days or more
  • The child was born outside of marriage, and the petition is filed while the parents are still unmarried
  • Divorce or legal separation proceedings are pending, and the petition is for “in loco parentis” visitation

Establishing “In Loco Parentis” in Arizona

There are strict procedures to give non-parent parties (which may include grandparents, former stepparents, aunts or uncles, etc.) custody or legal decision-making ability. To do so, the non-parent must establish that they act “In Loco Parentis.” This is a Latin term that means “in place of a parent.” Basically, a non-parent will need to establish that they have formed a significant relationship with the child and that they have had that relationship for a substantial period of time. Otherwise, the court hesitates to grant parenting time or visitation, knowing that there was not a strong relationship between the grandchild and grandparent.

Even if there is no need for a non-parent party to assume “In Loco Parentis” status, they may need court protection to preserve visitation rights. If access to and visitation with this non-parent party is determined to be in the best interests of the child, the court can provide legal protection of visitation time.

What Are Considered to Be the Best Interests of a Child in Arizona

Best Interests of a Child in Arizona

The state of Arizona takes cases involving child custody and visitation seriously and has established strict guidelines that consider the “best interests” of a child when making legal decisions regarding their well-being. In cases dealing with the rights of non-parent family members and children, the court takes multiple elements into consideration to determine what is best for a child.

These can include the following:

  • The type of relationship the grandparent and grandchild share
  • The motivation behind the grandparent requesting visitation, parenting time, or decision-making rights
  • The motivation behind the legal parent or party objecting to the grandparent’s request
  • The amount of time requested by the grandparent and whether it could potentially have an adverse impact on the child’s daily life or activities
  • If one of both of the child’s legal guardians has died
  • If maintaining the extended family relationship is beneficial

Pursuing Visitation Rights as an Arizona Grandparent

To establish your visitation rights as a grandparent in Arizona, it is crucial to follow these general steps:

Find an Arizona Grandparents’ Rights Attorney

Because cases involving grandparents’ and children’s rights can be complex and turn contentious quickly, any grandparent taking legal action should hire an experienced lawyer to guide them through the petitioning process.

Ensure You’re Eligible to File

For a grandparent to file a petition for visitation, they must first meet these basic requirements:

  • They are either the natural or adoptive grandparents of the child
  • They have lived in the state of Arizona for at least six months
  • They wish to request some form of visitation rights
  • One of the following circumstances applies to the situation:
    • The legal parents have been divorced for at least 90 days prior to the filing
    • One legal parent has died or has been missing for 90 days or more
    • The child was born to unmarried parents, and the parents are still not married when the petition is filed

Complete and File a Petition for Visitation Rights

The petition requires an assortment of details about you and your grandchild’s current situation. Consult with your attorney to ensure you provide the information in full and improve your chances of approval. Once the petition is complete, your attorney can then file it in your county of residence.

How Can an Arizona Family Lawyer Help Grandparent

Arizona Family Lawyer Helping Grandparents

For grandparents looking to request parenting time, visitation, or decision-making rights, hiring a family lawyer can be key to a successful petition. At The Valley Law Group, our skilled attorneys can help you with each of the following tasks:

Learning About Your Rights as a Grandparent

Educating yourself regarding the rights you hold as a grandparent is crucial, especially since it affects your chances of a successful petition. Working with a skilled family attorney can help you learn about the potential legal avenues you can take for protecting your grandchildren and understand what to expect during your case. An attorney can also ensure you assert those rights during your case.

Filing Petitions

Filing a petition as a grandparent can be difficult, especially when you’re unsure of the varying requirements and legal issues that must be addressed. Hiring an experienced family lawyer can provide you with peace of mind regarding the administrative aspects of your case. For example, our team can evaluate your situation, help you determine the type of petition you need to file, ensure you fit the eligibility requirements of that petition, and navigate the filing process.

Protecting You and Your Grandchild in Court

Because courts favor parental rights over those of non-parents, and because the child’s safety is so important, these cases can be difficult to win. However, sometimes they are so important to win precisely because of the best interests of the child. Working with a lawyer who has experience representing grandparents in Arizona is fundamental if you are concerned about your grandchild. The Valley Law Group can handle your case in court, protect your rights, and work diligently to achieve the best interests of your grandchild(ren).

Is It Difficult to Establish Rights as a Grandparent in Arizona?

Because the rights of a child’s legal parents take precedence, it can be difficult to establish your own rights as a grandparent. However, that does not make it impossible. By working with an adept family lawyer who can help you file a strong petition and negotiate for your rights, you can still have a fair chance at achieving visitation, parenting time, or decision-making rights. What is most important is that you ensure that your situation meets the varying requirements in place and that you can demonstrate that your petition is in the child’s best interests.

Arizona Grandparents’ Rights FAQs

Grandparents and other non-parent adults concerned about a child’s welfare may have a number of questions regarding how to pursue rights.

Here are some of the most common.

Can Grandparents Enforce a Parenting Time or Visitation Order in Court?

If a court order grants parenting time or visitation rights to a grandparent or other adult, but the legal parent does not comply, the grandparent has the same opportunity to have their order enforced as a parent would. A court order is a legally binding order stating that the grandparents are allowed to either have scheduled visits with their grandchild or shared parenting time. Parents or other individuals in violation can be found in contempt of court, fined, assigned jail time, or may receive another penalty.

What Happens If a Child Is Adopted?

If an individual’s grandchild is placed for adoption by the state or is adopted by a third party with no relation to them, the grandparent’s visitation rights will be terminated. If the child is adopted by someone inside the family, such as a stepparent, a grandparent may have the ability to have their visitation order reinstated once the child has been placed.

Can a Grandparent Adopt Their Grandchild in Arizona?

Arizona law states that any adult is eligible to petition for the adoption of a child. This includes the child’s grandparents or other extended family members. However, the adoption of a child will not be granted unless it is in the best interests of the child as determined by the court.

Is There an “Absolute Right” for Grandparents to Visit Their Grandchildren?

Parental rights are generally prioritized over grandparents’ rights by the court. Because of this, there are not many federal or state laws that give grandparents indisputable rights to their grandchildren. This means there is no “absolute right” that grandparents hold to see their grandchildren, and any non-court-ordered visitation is at the discretion of the legal parent or guardian. If grandparents are denied visitation with their grandkids, they may be able to submit a petition for visitation under strict circumstances.

Establish Your Rights as a Grandparent Today

Establish Your Legal Rights as a Grandparent

No grandparent should need to feel concerned about the well-being of their grandchild or grandchildren. If you believe your grandchildren’s parents are unable to care for them or that their best interests would be served by establishing parenting time or legal decision-making rights, consult with an experienced family law attorney.

At The Valley Law Group, our attorneys are passionate about helping children remain safe and ensure their best interests. That’s why we are dedicated to helping grandparents in Arizona establish their rights for visitation, parenting time, and legal decision-making. While the court system can be complex, it is possible to pursue your rights as a grandparent and make a difference in your grandchild’s life.

For further details on how The Valley Law Group can help you, book a free consultation with an Arizona family law attorney.



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