Divorce and Grandparents Visitation Rights in Arizona

In Arizona, grandparents are provided limited rights in regards to visitation, legal decision making and adoption of their grandchildren. In the modern world, the grandparent will often fill a vital role in the overall care and upbringing of their own grandchildren. In addition, the economy of today often means that a grandparent is in a more appropriate financial position when it comes to meeting the basic needs and essential comforts of a child.

The Arizona state legislature amended state law in 1983. In doing so, they created a legal right to visitation for both grandparents and great-grandparents.

Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-409 provides grandparents the opportunity to petition the court for visitation rights as long as doing so would be in the best interests of the child. In addition, one of the following situations must apply to the situation: 1) the child’s parents are divorced, they have been for at least 3 months, and the grandparent petitioning for visitation is the parent of their grandchild’s non-custodial parent. 2) One of the grandchild’s parents is missing or deceased and the grandparent petitioning for visitation is the parent of the missing or deceased parent. 3) The grandchild’s parents were not married.

When the court is attempting to determine the best interests of the child, Arizona law requires that they consider any and all relevant factors with five specific factors required by statute:

1. The previously existing history of a relationship between the child and their grandparent requesting visitation.2. The reason or motivation that the grandparent is requesting visitation with the child.3. The reason or motivation of the parent that is denying the same grandparent visitation with the child.4. The amount of time that the grandparent is requesting they be allowed to spend with the child and how the time spent with the grandparent would impact the child’s life.5. In cases where both of the child’s parents are deceased, the benefit of maintaining a relationship/visitation with the extended family members.

 


When a Grandparent is Interested in Obtaining Visitation Rights

If a grandparent is seeking visitation rights, they should petition the court at the time of the divorce or paternity proceeding (if either is taking place). If this is not the case, a grandparent can petition the court for visitation separately.


When a Grandparent is Interested in Adopting a Grandchild

As long as grandparents meet the requirements outlined by Arizona adoption laws, they have the right to adopt a grandchild. In most cases, while the adoption is pending a grandparent will seek temporary custody of the child (if they do not already have it).


Visitation When a Grandchild is Adopted

In cases where a grandchild is adopted by another party, the grandparents’ rights to visitation could be terminated. According to Arizona state law, the adoption of a child results in the end of visitation rights to the grandparents. There is one exception to this scenario: stepparent adoption.

If you have additional questions about grandparent visitation rights under Arizona state law, please contact the Arizona family law attorneys at Hildebrand Law.