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Temporary Visitation Order for Grandparents in Arizona

Tue 22nd Dec, 2015 Arizona Child Custody Laws

Some grandparents have asked about a temporary visitation order for grandparents in Arizona. The Arizona Court of Appeals in the case of Lambertus v. Porter addressed whether a judge has the authority to grant temporary visitation to grandparents in Arizona.

Trial Court Determines If It Has Authority to Order Temporary Visitation to Grandparents

The trial court had to determine whether it had statutory authority (or other appropriate authority) to issue the temporary order for visitation in the case of Lambertus v. Porter.

The judge determined it did have power according to Arizona Revised Statute § 25–402, subsection B, paragraph 2, providing that a person other than the legal parent may petition for visitation with the minor child through the Superior Court.

The court heard the request considering the child’s best interests and the parents not being married. Arizona Revised Statutes § 25–404(A) (Supp.2013) allows a party “involved” in the legal decision-making or parenting time proceedings to move for temporary orders.

The trial court considered the Grandmother’s intervention in the paternity action as “involvement” in the legal decision-making and parenting time proceedings.

Therefore, the appeals court felt she was qualified to file for temporary orders.

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Distinction Between Involvement In The Case and Statutory Authority to Order Temporary Visitation to Grandparents

The mother argued that the Grandmother is not a part of the legal decision-making and parenting time proceedings as it does not specify “visitation” as part of the process.

While Arizona law specifically identifies that a trial court may grant visitation rights to non-parents at the court’s discretion and according to the child’s best interests, the court should give the legal parents’ opinion extra consideration of what best serves the child.

Given that information and the fact that no statute gives a trial court the actual legal ability to award visitation to any non-parent at a Temporary Orders proceeding, the Court of Appeals ruled the trial court acted over its authority in this particular case.

Considering the Plain Language of the Law and Legislative Intent

In this case, the majority opinion appears to conflict with the law’s plain language, particularly definitions of “parenting time” and “visitation.” It is interesting to point toward the recent revisions of two statutes about this case (§ 25–404(A) and § 25–401).

In combination with the constitutional presumptions afforded to parents to raise their children, their recent revisions should conclude that the plain meaning of the terms should be seen as the best indicator of intent unless the phrasing is ambiguous or leads to an inappropriate interpretation.

The Legislature Did Not Intend to Allow a Judge to Grant Grandparents a Temporary Order for Visitation in Arizona

Temporary Visitation Order for Grandparents in Arizona.

It becomes apparent the trial court lacked the authority for its decision to grant a temporary order providing visitation to the Grandmother. The legislative scheme names specific classes and parties eligible for visitation, which suggests that the legislature had no intention of granting visitation to third parties not specified. The court granted the mother’s request for relief when it vacated the temporary visitation order.

Attorneys Representing Grandparents in Arizona

If things are not going well in your Arizona grandparent child visitation case, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona grandparent child visitation and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in grandparent visitation cases.

Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.

Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your grandparent visitation case around today.

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