Caregivers

Grandparent Visitation Rights

Grandparents often have a special bond with their grandchildren however, sometimes instances such as a messy divorce may come between a grandchild and a grandparent. Many grandparents may feel helpless but Arizona provides people who meet the requirements of A.R.S. §25-409 with some hope.

What are grandparents rights?

Arizona law recognizes some situations where grandparents have a right to visitation with the grandchild. The relevant statute is A.R.S. § 25-409. This is the statute governing situations where non-parental figures have rights to visitation or even custody of minor children.

Who Can File for Visitation?

If a grandparent has been unable to see their grandchild they can ask the court for scheduled meetings with the child, this is referred to as visitation. Visitation rights are covered in A.R.S. §25-409(C). In order to file for visitation one of the following must be true:

  1. One of the legal parents is deceased or has been missing at least three months. For the purposes of this paragraph, a parent is considered to be missing if the parent's location has not been determined and the parent has been reported as missing to a law enforcement agency.
  2. The child was born out of wedlock and the child's legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.
  3. For grandparent or great-grandparent visitation, the marriage of the parents of the child has been dissolved for at least three months.
  4. For in loco parentis (in place of the parents) visitation, a proceeding for dissolution of marriage (divorce) or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time of the petition.

What factors do the courts consider when awarding visitation rights?

A judge will then use the best interest of the child standard to make a decision on the case. There are many factors that a judge looks at including (A.R.S. §25-403):

  1. Has there been an existing, historical relationship between the grandparent and the child?
  2. What is the grandparent’s motivation for requesting visitation?
  3. What is the reason the parent is currently denying grandparent visitation?
  4. How much time is being requested and what impact will visitation have on the child’s usual activities?
  5. If one or both parents are deceased, what benefit will the child receive by maintaining relationships with extended family?

What is the process for filing for grandparent visitation?

Filing for grandparent visitation takes place in Family Court at Superior Courthouses in Arizona. Superior Court locations have forms either online or in-person available for those who wish to file for visitation rights. There is a fee required for filing. If the person filing is unable to afford the fee they may apply for a fee waiver or deferral with the court.

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This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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