Grandparent Rights in Arizona

Each of the 49 states in the U.S. possess their own specific statutes that address the matter of visitation rights for grandparents. In Arizona, reasonable visitation rights may be granted to grandparents if two circumstances are met.

The first thing that must be proved to the court to establish visitation rights for grandparents is that it is within the best interests of the child for the visitation to occur. In making this determination, the court will consider all factors relevant to the matter (per A.R.S. 25-409), which include:

  • The historical relationship, if any, between the child and the person seeking visitation.
  • The motivation of the requesting party in seeking visitation.
  • The motivation of the person denying visitation.
  • The quantity of visitation time requested and the potential adverse impact that visitation will have on the child’s customary activities.
  • If one or both of the child’s parents are deceased, the benefit in maintaining an extended family relationship.

In addition to proving that visitation is within the best interests of the child, one of three situations must also be true. The first is that the marriage of the parents of the child must have been dissolved for at least three months. Second, a parent of the child must be deceased OR missing for at least three months. The court will consider a parent to be missing if the location of the parent has not been determined and if the parent has been reported missing to a law enforcement agency. Finally, visitation rights can be sought if the child was born out of wedlock.

If a grandparent is able to acquire visitation, and if it is logistically possible and appropriate to do so, the court will typically allow the visitation to occur when the child is spending time with whichever parent that the grandparent used to claim the grandparent’s right of access to the child. However, the court recognizes that this sort of scenario is not always possible and will order alternate arrangements if necessary to minimize conflict and maintain a safe and stable environment for the minor child.

Though this statute applies specifically for grandparents, a provision also provides the same rights to great-grandparents if they can meet the elements listed above.

Like most actions involving custody and/or visitation of a minor child, the outcome is largely contingent upon what is in the best interests of the child. Because these matters are often hotly contested, it is usually a good idea to contact an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help guide you through the process. To speak with an attorney regarding Grandparents’ Rights in Arizona, contact The Carroll Law Firm at (623)551-9366.

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