Third Party Visitation / Grandparent Visitation
Arizona law provides grandparents with certain visitation rights. Under A.R.S. § 25-409, the court may grant visitation rights to a grandparent if the visitation would be in the child’s best interest and any of the following are true:
- The marriage of the parents of the child has been dissolved for at least three months; or
- One of the legal parents is deceased or has been missing at least three months. A parent is considered to be missing if the parent’s location has not been determined and the parent has been reported as missing to a law enforcement agency; or
- The child was born out of wedlock and the child’s legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.
Additionally, under A.R.S. § 25-409, in determining the best interest of the child, the court must give special weight to the opinion of the parents as to what serves their child’s best interest. However, the court must 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.
The most difficult cases for grandparents are when the mother or father objects to visitation. When a parent objects to visitation, the grandparent must do two things: (1) show that access to the grandparent is in the child’s best interest, and (2) overcome the presumption that the parent acts in the child’s best interest. As these two things are somewhat intertwined, the question really becomes whether visitation with the grandparent is in the child’s best interest.
The experienced family law attorneys at The Law Office of Laura Gillis can help third-parties, (including grandparents, uncles, aunts, and others) navigate through issues of legal decision-making, visitation, and placement. Call today for a consultation: (602) 277-4736.