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Grandparents Visitation Rights Arizona

Posted on : October 24, 2017, By:  Christopher Hildebrand
Grandparents Visitation Rights Arizona.

Grandparents Visitation Rights Arizona

In the Arizona Court of Appeals case of Friedman v. Roels, the  parties in the case include Mother and Petitioner/Appellant Lisa J. Friedman (“Friedman”), Father, Respondent David Roels, Jr. (“Roels”), and Paternal Grandparents Intervenors/Appellees, Claudia and David Roels Sr., (“Grandparents”), and minor children “M” born in 2003, and “R” born in 2005.

Friedman and Roels married in 2001 and have two common minor children “M” and “R”. The Friedman’s “informally” separated in March 2010, after an incident where Roels ‘went into a rage’ and was “admitted to a psychiatric facility with suicidal ideation”. Friedman petitioned for legal separation in September 2010, and for dissolution of marriage in May 2011. Thereafter, each party signed a consent decree of dissolution of marriage in July 2011.

Since the parties’ voluntary separation, Roels (“Father”) has had supervised visitation with his two minor children, without maintaining any ‘legal decision’ making authority until August 2015, when he and Friedman mutually agreed that while Friedman would retain ‘final decision making authority,’ she would consult with Roels on non-emergency’ matters.

Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
A Google User
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20:31 20 Sep 17
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
A Google User
A Google User
21:41 07 Nov 17
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
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14:58 04 Oct 17
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
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16:03 22 Nov 17
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
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22:14 28 Jun 17
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A Google User
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18:16 18 Sep 17
Kevin Park of Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
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19:22 23 Aug 17
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
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21:20 02 Apr 18
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Larry Flint
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21:53 27 Feb 18
Despite the unfortunate situation I found myself in, Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law helped me maneuver every step with professionalism, expertise, and even a sensitivity that was an added bonus.Chris and his staff helped me even when I didn't know I needed the help. In other words. . . they made sure we did not leave anything undone. And in the rare instance we needed the expertise of another professional, Chris knew exactly who to recommend.Chris also knew, because of his experience, what to anticipate down the road of litigation. That meant we were better prepared to meet the challenges head on, which lead to a more equitable and fair outcome. I appreciated that Chris did his best to meet my every need in a timely fashion, even if I had a simple question that required only a phone call or e-mail or if we needed to talk face-to-face.I highly recommend Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law, PC.
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I cannot express enough how thankful I am that I found Hildrebrand Law. Chris Hildebrand is an excellent attorney who has my best interests in mind and always encourages me to do the right thing regardless of what the opposing party is doing. Chris knows family law very well and relies on that knowledge to format options and solutions for each situation that may arise. He knows what the Court expects and what will and will not be tolerated. He has attempted to settle this case quickly and as inexpensively as possible from the start. His paralegal, Laura, is remarkable. She is organized, quick to respond, and compassionate. Chris is well prepared with a binder full of detailed and organized information and that is likely due to her thorough skills and expertise. While getting a divorce that was unexpected is a painful and difficult process, Chris and Laura treat my family and I like friends rather than another just "client." I am hopeful that I do not need to recommend divorce lawyers to anyone in the future but if I do, Hildebrand Law will be a recommendation I would give hands down.
Lindsay Donoian
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06:53 27 Sep 14


The children (“M” and “R”) had been engaged in counseling beginning in June 2010 and participated in “several family therapy sessions with Roels in 2012, 2013, and 2015”. Factors of Roels prior abusive conduct towards the two minor children admittedly included, ‘yelling and losing his temper and ‘kicking [M] once’ and ‘holding him and grabbing him once.’

Grandparents Visitation Rights Arizona.

Grandparents Visitation Rights Arizona.

Paternal grandparents David Roels Sr. and Claudia Roels (“Grandparents”) filed a petition in April 2014 to obtain court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren, M and R. As of August 2015, the time set for this hearing, the Grandparents had not spoken to the children in four years, at Friedman’s insistence. After a two-day hearing in August 2015, Grandparents testified that before the parents’ separation, they had enjoyed a close relationship with the children. This including attending M’s birth, meeting R a week after her birth, and frequently traveling to Tucson, Arizona, to attend the children’s school and sports activities and provide daycare for consecutive days at a time on at least two occasions.

Grandparents continued to send the grandchildren cards and gifts for the four years Grandparents were denied contact and parenting time by Friedman. The lower court determined that the experts hired by the parties regarding parenting time for Grandparents were of “limited usefulness” because “there just wasn’t any apprehension or …tension” between Grandparents and either of the minor children. Instead, the lower court ruled that after considering all relevant evidence, ‘including the demeanor and credibility of the parties,’ it was in the children’s best interests to have visitation with their grandparents.

Visitation Rights of Grandparents in Arizona.

Visitation Rights of Grandparents in Arizona.

Friedman contends the trial Court erred in awarding Grandparents visitation despite Friedman, as the children’s ‘only fit parent,’ having determined the visits were contrary to the best interests. However, Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) § 25-409(C) provides ‘a person other than a legal parent may petition the superior court for visitation with a child’ and, the court ‘may grant visitation rights during the child’s minority on a finding that the visitation is in the child’s best interests and . . . [f]or grandparent or great-grandparent visitation, the marriage of the parents has been dissolved for at least three months’.

The court further discussed (A.R.S.) § 25-409(E) stating: …that, in order to grant visitation to any statutorily qualified ‘third party’ the court shall give special weight to the legal parent’s opinion of what serves their best interests, and consider all relevant factors including:

1. The historical relationship, if any, between the child and person seeking visitation.

2. The motivation of the requesting party seeking visitation.

3. The motivation of the person objecting to visitation.

4. The quantity of visitation time requested and the potential adverse impact that visitation will have on the child’s customary activities.

Despite Friedman’s reliance on the Troxel, McGovern and Lambertus cases, this matter has granted grandparent visitation within the parameters of A.R.S. § 25-409 that ‘does not substantially infringe on parent’s fundamental rights.’ Lambertus v. Porter, 235 Ariz. 382, ¶ 29, 332 P.3d 608, 614 (App. 2014).

Visitation Rights of Grandparents in Arizona.

Visitation Rights of Grandparents in Arizona.

Also, the appellate court in this case first held, “the court should apply a rebuttable presumption that a ‘fit parent acts in his or her child’s best interest in decisions . . . concerning grandparent visitation’ and second, the court must give ‘some special weight’ to a fit parent’s determination of whether visitation is in the child’s best interest.’ The appellate court found these “Grandparents had a ‘significant relationship [that] was very positive with the children” until the parents separated, See § 25-409(E)(1), and since the relationship resumed in 2015, it had been “progressing well”.

Some of the positives included planning for weeks for each visitation and providing activities and structure to keep the children involved, which the children responded well to, offering “spontaneous hugs” at the end of some visits with Grandparents. Therefore, the appellate court held that Roels access and parenting time are significantly restricted, however, Roels was not found to be an unfit parent and therefore his ‘determination’ is also entitled to “special weight.”

This Appellate Court ruled that the lower court applied the proper standards in awarding visitation to Grandparents. It was also held that the court employed the fit-parent presumption and the factors set forth in § 25-409(E), and expressly accorded “special weight” to Friedman’s position. There is sufficient evidence to support its conclusion that Grandparents have overcome the presumption, and does not bar them from exercising Grandparent visitation because Friedman was unable to show such visitation by the Grandparents would not be in the children’s best interests.

If you have a question about child custody in Arizona, please call to speak to one of our experienced Scottsdale and Phoenix child custody Arizona attorneys at (480)947-4339.

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