Logo
Call Now(480)305-8300

Visitation Rights to a Person Standing In Loco Parentis to a Child in Arizona

Posted on : December 3, 2016, By:  Christopher Hildebrand
Visitation Rights to a Person Standing In Loco Parentis to a Child in Arizona

Visitation Rights to a Person Standing In Loco Parentis to a Child in Arizona

When a child is born out of wedlock, a man who acknowledges paternity is presumed to be the child’s father. He is entitled to custody and visitation rights and is obligated to contribute to the support of his child. But when it is proved that he is not the biological father of the child, what rights and responsibilities exist?

The Arizona Court of Appeals considered these issues in Hughes v. Creighton, 798 P.2d 403 (1990).

Facts and Background

Visitation Rights to a Person Standing In Loco Parentis to a Child in Arizona.

Visitation Rights to a Person Standing In Loco Parentis to a Child in Arizona.

While Mrs. Creighton and Mr. Hughes dated, Mrs. Creighton became pregnant and named Mr. Hughes as the child’s father. He signed the birth certificate and acted as the boy’s father for 16 months. Mr. Hughes had a close relationship with and provided financial support for the child. The couple, however, did not marry.

After 16 months, the couple split up. Mrs. Creighton moved away with the boy and didn’t allow Mr. Hughes to see the child. She declared that Mr. Hughes was not the child’s father. Mr. Hughes filed a paternity action seeking visitation.

The court ordered blood tests, and they showed that Mr. Hughes was not the child’s natural father. The judge determined that Mr. Hughes, however, stood in locos parentis (i.e., in the role of a parent) to the child and found that visitation between Mr. Hughes and the child was in the child’s best interests.

The trial court also ruled it had no authority to order Mr. Hughes to pay child support. Mrs. Creighton and Mr. Hughes appeal from the rulings.

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
A Google User
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.
Google User
Google User
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.
A Google User
A Google User
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!
A Google User
A Google User
22:14 28 Jun 17
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
A Google User
A Google User
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.
A Google User
A Google User
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.
A Google User
A Google User
17:44 23 Jun 16
I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
Bassam Ziadeh
Bassam Ziadeh
21:20 02 Apr 18
I have worked with Hildebrand law for about 8 years. They are always ready to serve, provide guidance and give you a few options. When they provide you options they also take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of each and give you a recommendation of what is best, but will listen to you and support whatever course you choose after making and educated choice. I’d recommend them to my closest friends and feel Chris Hildebrand is now a friend to me.
Larry Flint
Larry Flint
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.
Sam Franchimone
Sam Franchimone
22:09 12 Sep 13

Jurisdiction to Award Visitation Rights to a Person Standing In Loco Parentis to a Child in Arizona

Mrs. Creighton claims that once the court found Mr. Hughes was not the boy’s biological father, it had no authority to order visitation. Mr. Hughes claims that since he stood in locos parentis, the court could grant visitation.

Mr. Hughes filed his action as a special paternity action. This law permits a man claiming to be a child’s father to seek custody and visitation rights after paternity is determined. However, he cannot seek custody or visitation under this statute if the paternity test is negative.

Another statute allows the “parent not granted custody” to seek reasonable visitation rights. However, “parent” here means biological or adoptive parent. Mr. Hughes is not the child’s biological or adoptive parent.

Rights of Visitation for a Person Standing In Loco Parentis to a Child in Arizona.

Rights of Visitation for a Person Standing In Loco Parentis to a Child in Arizona.

In Arizona, a court can order visitation for noncustodial parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and stepparents. Mr. Hughes did not fit any of those categories, even though he stood in locos parentis to the child. He did not establish the child’s mother was an unfit parent to seek in loco parentis custody of the child. Absent a showing the child’s mother was unfit, Therefore, the lower court erred in awarding him visitation.

Jurisdiction to Award Child Support

Mr. Hughes argued that the court had authority to order him to pay support. He bases this on the fact that he was found to be in loco parentis to the child.

However, Arizona law only allows a court to order biological or adoptive parents to pay child support. Only natural and adoptive parents are legally obligated to financially support their children. Since Mr. Hughes has no legal obligation to support the child, the court cannot order him to do so.

Disposition

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court order granting Mr. Hughes visitation. It affirmed the trial court’s ruling that it had no authority to order him to pay child support.



As Seen on CBS News, ABC News, NBC News, and Fox News

Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys, PC As Seen in the News.

Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys, PC As Seen in the News.


What’s Hot – Blog