As parents, there is nothing more exciting than when we become grandparents. Not only do we get to spend time with a wonderful new life, but our bonds to our own children grow deeper as they come to understand what it was like for their parents to raise them.
But not every family has such an easy time. There are often times when a new parent wants to prevent their child’s grandparents from seeing them, typically because of ongoing drama with the other parent who is related to the grandparent. In cases like this, it is important to understand how grandparent visitation rights work in Arizona.
To tackle this subject, we’re going to break it down into a couple of components. We’ll first look at when you can request visitation rights as a grandparent in Arizona. Following this, we’ll explore how the courts decide whether or not to grant grandparents visitation rights. Finally, we’ll look at what happens to grandparent visitation rights when a child is put up for adoption.
When Am I Able to Ask for Visitation Rights as a Grandparent in Arizona?
Unfortunately, a grandparent does not just have a legal right to visit with their grandchild outright. This is not something that is conferred to a grandparent simply because they are related to the child. However, in most cases, grandparents shouldn’t have much of an issue seeing their grandchild. If everyone cooperates sometimes parents may want to prevent visitation. This is most common when the parent who wasn’t related to the grandparent passes away or is incarcerated for a significant period of time.
In Arizona, the courts will grant visitation rights to a grandparent if the court believes that contact with the grandparent is in the child’s best interest. But this alone is not enough to ask the courts for visitation rights. It also has to be true that:
- The parents of the child are currently pending divorce or legal separation
- The parents divorced at least three months prior
- The child was born outside of wedlock and the parents haven’t gotten married
- One of the parents is deceased
- One of the parents has been missing for at least months and reported as such to law enforcement
You may notice that each of these requirements implies either a lack of a parent or a disruption in the nuclear family in question. Unfortunately, this means that a grandparent will not be able to seek visitation rights easily should both parents be legally married. The courts tend to believe that parents, acting as a couple, can make the choice of whether or not visitation with a grandparent is in their child’s best interest.
What Does It Take to Get the Courts to Grant Grandparent Visitation?
While the courts will try to get the opinion of a child’s legal parent in regards to grandparent visitation, it isn’t always true that a parent knows what is best for their child. As a grandparent, you can argue to the court that your grandchild’s parents do not have the child’s best wishes in mind when arguing that you shouldn’t be able to see your grandchild.
If the court does grant visitation time, they will try their best to align this time with when your child, the grandchild’s parent, has custody. This can’t always be enforced, such as when there are issues with the custody already. If there has been a custody case regarding the grandchild then visitation petitions must be filed in the court where that case was held.
There are a number of factors that go into a judge’s decision whether or not to grant the grandparent visitation rights to the grandchild. These include:
- What the child and grandparent’s relationship has been like in the past
- The motivations the grandparent has for filing the visitation request
- The motivations of the parents in trying to prevent the grandparent from seeing the child
- How much time has been requested for visitation and what effect this would have on the child’s schedule
- The benefit that time with the grandparent would have for the child and the extended family in the case that one of the parents is deceased
What Happens to Grandparent Visitation Rights if the Grandchild is Put Up for Adoption?
This is a little bit more of a complicated question than you might expect. In general, a grandparents visitation rights will dissolve when a child is put up for adoption. When the child is adopted, a grandparent will no longer be able to visit.
This is because adoption is a severing of the biological parent’s legal relationship to the child. As such, this also severs any bonds between the child and other relatives. So uncles, cousins, and grandparents would no longer be considered to have a legal relationship with the child.
There is one exception, however. If the child is adopted by a step-parent.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Get Visitation Rights as a Grandparent in Arizona?
One of the important aspects of getting visitation rights as a grandparent in Arizona is proving to the court that there is a benefit to be had by the child by granting you visitation rights. While you might think that a relationship with a grandparent is enough of a reason, the court might disagree.
However, an attorney that understands what motivates the courts can craft a much more compelling argument for why you should be granted visitation rights. Working with one of the talented attorneys at Arizona Family Law Attorneys can result in a much more impactful argument and this means that you have a higher chance of winning your argument and getting visitation rights by working with an attorney than you would without one.
Contact Arizona Family Law Attorneys today to see how we can help you get visitation rights to spend time with your grandchildren.