Divorce and Grandparents Visitation Rights in Arizona
When a Grandparent is Interested in Obtaining Visitation Rights
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 grandchildren.
Also, 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. Also, one of the following situations must apply to the situation:
- The child’s parents are divorced, they have been for at least three months, and the grandparent petitioning for visitation is the parent of their grandchild’s noncustodial parent;
- One of the grandchild’s parents is missing or deceased, and the grandparent petitioning for visitation is the parent of the missing or dead parent;
- 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:
- The previously existing history of a relationship between the child and their grandparents requesting visitation.
- The reason or motivation that the grandparent is seeking visitation with the child.
- The reason or motivation of the parent that is denying the same grandparent visitation with the child.
- 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.
- In cases where both of the child’s parents are deceased, the benefit of maintaining a relationship/visitation with the extended family members.
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. In cases where another party adopts a grandchild, the grandparents’ rights to visitation could be terminated.
According to Arizona state law, the adoption of a child results at the end of visitation rights to the grandparents. There is one exception to this scenario: stepparent adoption.
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Chris Hildebrand wrote the information on this page about divorce and grandparent rights in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about the rights of grandparents during a divorce in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a child custody case should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.