Being a grandparent is one of the biggest joys for Arizona residents. However, problems might arise regarding their contact with grandchildren in certain situations. These are their rights according to state law.
Understanding grandparents’ rights
According to Arizona’s family law, grandparents are allowed to have certain rights with respect to their grandchildren even if a parent objects. To ensure that they can receive visitation rights, they must prove that maintaining that level of contact is in the best interests of the child. In certain situations, grandparents may even be allowed custody of their grandchildren.
Criteria determining the best interest standard
When following the child’s best interest standard, the court will take into consideration the historical relationship between the grandparents and the child as well as the motivation of the grandparents and the motivation of the parent denying visitation. It will also consider the length of time of the requested visitation and any potential negative impacts it may have on the child’s regular activities. Courts also want to know whether the grandparent/grandchild relationship would be beneficial if one or both of the parents are deceased.
There are other factors that determine whether grandparents should be granted visitation with their grandchildren. Whether the child was born out of wedlock is one. If a parent has been missing for at least three months, cannot be located and law enforcement has been alerted to it, that may favor grandparents’ visitation rights.
Another factor that can help grandparents in getting visitation with the child is if the child’s parents have been divorced or their marriage annulled for at least three months.
Petitioning for visitation with grandchildren
If the situation involves any of the above, a grandparent can file a petition for visitation rights with the court in the county where the child lives. Grandparents may obtain visitation as long as the child has not been put up for adoption by a biological parent.
The top priority of the court is the child’s best interests. In many cases, courts deem contact with grandparents to fall under that category.