We know how special it is to be a grandparent what joy grandchildren can bring. But sometimes a grandparent is unreasonably denied visitation with a grandchild. Arizona law may provide help. On the other hand, there are situations where one of a child’s grandparents has or attempts to unreasonably intrude and overstep the parent’s rights. Arizona law may provide help there, too.
In deciding whether to grant visitation to a grandparent, the court shall give special weight to the legal parents’ opinion of what serves their child’s best interests and consider all relevant factors including:
- The historical relationship, if any, between the child and the person seeking visitation.
- The motivation of the requesting party seeking visitation.
- The motivation of the person objecting to 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 some more extreme situations, a grandparent may seek more than visitation – a grandparent may seek legal custody of the child. In order to do so, the parent must meet stringent proofs, alleging and showing:
- The grandparent filing the petition stands in loco parentis to the child.
- It would be significantly detrimental to the child to remain or be placed in the care of either legal parent who wishes to keep or acquire legal decision-making.
- A court of competent jurisdiction has not entered or approved an order concerning legal decision-making or parenting time within one year before the person filed a petition pursuant to this section unless there is a reason to believe the child’s present environment may seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.
- One of the following applies:
- One of the legal parents is deceased.
- The child’s legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.
- A proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for the legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time the petition is filed.
Under Arizona law, it is a rebuttable presumption that awarding legal decision-making to a legal parent serves the child’s best interests because of the physical, psychological and emotional needs of the child to be reared by a legal parent. A grandparent may rebut this presumption only with proof showing by clear and convincing evidence that awarding legal decision-making to a legal parent is not consistent with the child’s best interests.
Is the pursuit of legal grandparents’ rights appropriate in your case?
Victor Garnice has detailed knowledge and a long history of actually dealing with these matters as well as the insight that comes from being both a parent and grandparent himself. These issues are complicated and the legal requirements to successfully make a case for a grandparent to be awarded visitation with or custody of a child when a parent of that child is living is exacting and extraordinary.
Whether you are a grandparent seeking legal custody of or visitation with a grandchild, or whether you are a parent seeking to prevent a grandparent from doing so, turn to Garnice Law, PLLC for advice, guidance, and representation. We can help you understand your rights and represent you to obtain the most favorable possible outcome. Call the office and let’s talk about your options and prospects.