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Do Grandparents Have Parenting Time Rights in Arizona?

Do Grandparents Have Parenting Time Rights in Arizona?

If a child’s parents' marriage has been dissolved for at least 3 months, a parent of the child is deceased or missing (for a minimum of 3 months) or the child was born out of wedlock, the grandparents of the child may file a petition to establish visitation rights. Parents have a constitutionally protected right to raise their child, but what parenting time rights do grandparents have in Arizona?

Due to the fact that parents have a constitutional right to raise their child, grandparents will be required to overcome the presumption that whether or not visitation is in the child’s best interests is the parent’s decision. They would also need to show that they have been denied access to the child. If the grandparent is able to show that visitation is in the child’s best interests and that they have been denied access, there are certain factors the court will consider when determining whether grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the child.

Factors the Court will Consider when Determining Grandparent Visitation:

  • A historical relationship between the child and the grandparents seeking visitation.
  • Motivation on the part of the grandparent seeking visitation.
  • Motivation on the part of the person denying the grandparent visitation.
  • Quantity of visitation time requested and the potential adverse impact such visitation could have on the child’s regular day-to-day activities.

If the child’s parents share equal parenting time, then the grandparents seeking visitation time should have that time when the child would normally be with the parent who is related to the grandparent seeking to establish visitation rights.

In instances when the grandparent stands in loco parentis to the child or acted as a parent to the child forming a meaningful relationship with them over a substantial period of time, they may request legal decision-making. Several additional requirements must be meet in this situation.

A Grandparent Requesting Legal Decision-Making Would Need to Show That:

  • It would be detrimental to the child for them to stay in the care of the legal parent.
  • There have been no court order regarding legal decision-making or parenting time in the past year (with the exception of situations in which the child’s present environment could leave them in serious danger).
  • One of the following three situations apply – 1)one of the legal parents is deceased, 2) the child’s legal parents are not married or 3) a dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the legal parents is in process.

The grandparent requesting legal decision-making would need to combat the presumption that awarding legal decision-making to the legal parent is in the child’s best physical, psychological, and emotional interests. This must be shown with clear and convincing evidence.

If you have questions or concerns about the legal issues related to grandparents requesting visitation rights, please get in touch with Arizona Family Law Attorneys.

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