What are Grandparents Legal Rights in Arizona?

grandparents legal rightsWe recognize the important role that grandparents have in society. A healthy relationship with grandparents is a great thing for a child. However, for various reasons, grandparents may end up being denied access to their grandchild.

This can be heartbreaking and leave grandparents wondering if they have legal rights to visitation.

The good news is that, yes, Arizona law does address grandparent rights. The bad news is that it can get complicated. Today, we are going to discuss what rights grandparents have when it comes to securing visitation with their grandchildren. If you need help with this issue, please consider seeking assistance from an Arizona family law attorney who can navigate these legal waters.

Understanding why grandparents would be denied access

There are various reasons why grandparents could be denied access to their grandchildren. This, of course, can be an incredibly difficult thing for a grandparent to experience, especially if they have been a part of their grandchild’s life.

Why would this happen?

  • The child’s parents may divorce and one parent may deny a grandparent access.
  • One parent has died or is missing and the other parent denies access to the child.
  • The parent(s) may be struggling with addiction and not want the grandparents to find out.
  • The parent(s) generally do not get along with the grandparents.

*This is just a hypothetical list and there are certainly other reasons why a grandparent could be denied visitation. Please speak to your attorney about your particular case.

What are the legal options here?

It is important to understand that state and federal law gives parents significant rights over how to raise their children. The courts will always look to do what is in the best interests of the child, and it is often difficult to prove that a parent is not doing so.

Under Arizona law, grandparents and great-grandparents may petition the court to visitation, but one of the following must be true:

  • The child’s parents must have been divorced for at least three months and the grandparent is the parent of the non-custodial
  • One of the child’s parents is deceased or has been missing for at least three months and the grandparent is the parent of the child’s deceased or missing parent.
  • The child’s parents were never married in the first place.

Even if one of those factors is present, there are other relevant factors to consider under Arizona law:

  • The historical relationship between the grandparent and the child.
  • The reason why the grandparent is seeking visitation.
  • The reason why a parent has denied visitation.
  • How much visitation the grandparent is seeking and how this will affect the child’s daily life.
  • The benefits of maintaining visitation with extended family members if one or both parents are deceased.

Grandparents who are seeking visitation rights can petition the court during the parent’s divorce proceeding or a father’s paternity proceeding. They can also petition the court separately for visitation rights.

  • Grandparent visitation is different than a custody/adoption case.

Your attorney is ready to help you

As a grandparent, we know that you want what is best for your grandchildren. However, there may be a time when the parent of a child disagrees on what that means. If you have been denied access to your grandchild, you may have legal recourse. Please seek assistance from a knowledgeable and experienced Arizona family law attorney who will walk you through this. The laws surrounding this issue can be incredibly complicated, and you do not have to do this alone. Together, we hope to secure your visitation rights through the court system.

Click here for information on virtual visitation in an Arizona divorce.