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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.
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:
In addition, one of these situations must be true:
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.
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:
To establish your visitation rights as a grandparent in Arizona, it is crucial to follow these general steps:
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.
For a grandparent to file a petition for visitation, they must first meet these basic requirements:
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.
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:
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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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