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Grandparents Rights for Custody & Visitation in Arizona

Under Arizona law, grandparents may need to seek custody of their grandchildren or adopt them in certain circumstances. In other circumstances, the children’s parents may block grandparents from visiting their grandchildren. All of these circumstances will almost certainly necessitate the assistance of an expert Arizona family law attorney. 

Even if a parent objects, Arizona law permits grandparents to seek visitation rights with their grandchildren. 

A family law attorney at the law firm of Colburn Hintze Maletta has expertise in managing grandparents’ rights disputes and can explain your choices based on the facts of your case. 

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Your Rights as a Grandparent in Arizona

Visitation Rights for Grandparents in Arizona 

A person other than a parent, including a grandparent, may petition the court for parenting time rights under ARS 25-402 (B)(2). They must follow the procedure provided in ARS 25-409.

When a grandparent petitions for visitation rights with a grandchild under this Act, the court may approve the petition if it determines that visitation with the grandparent is in the child’s best interests and any of the following conditions are met: 

  • One of the children’s parents has died or has been gone for three months or longer. 
  • The child’s parents are unmarried, and the child was born out of wedlock. 
  • The parents of the child have been divorced for three months or longer. 
  • If the grandparent has acted in loco parentis for the grandchild, the child’s parents must be going through a divorce or legal separation.

The court must then determine that visitation is in the best interests of the child.

The following elements must be considered by the court in making this determination:

  • The child’s previous connection with the grandparent.
  • The reason for the grandparents’ request for visititation rights.
  • The reasons of the parent who is refusing the grandparents’ visits.
  • Visitation time sought, as well as the possible detrimental influence on the child’s usual activities. 
  • Whether there is an advantage to keeping a child’s bond with his or her extended family when a parent dies. 

Arizona understands that grandparents may have a significant impact on their grandchildren’s lives. In many homes, grandparents often have particular bonds with their grandchildren. When a parent restricts a grandparent from visiting their child, it may be extremely difficult for both the child and the grandparent.

If a court decides that approving grandparent visitation rights is acceptable, the visitation periods will be ordered to occur when the child sees the parent who is that grandparent’s relative.

If that parent is no longer alive, the court may order that visitation take place when the deceased parent would have had visitation time with the child.

Proving that a parent died or that the parents divorced before the grandparent filed a visitation petition will be simple. It becomes more difficult, however, when the parent with custody of the child opposes the grandparent’s petition for visitation.

Colburn Hintze Maletta may assist grandparents in gathering evidence and presenting it in a way that supports the grounds for requesting visitation and demonstrates that getting visitation is in the child’s best interests.

How a Visitation Rights Petition Works?

If the child’s parents divorced or had a paternity determination, the grandparents must submit a petition for visitation in the preceding action. If no previous court case has been filed, the petition can be filed as a separate action in the county where the child resides.

If the child is put up for adoption outside of the household, any grandparent visits will be terminated unless the grandparent petitioned for adoption or the adoption petition was filed by a stepparent. 

Following the filing of the petition, the grandparents must serve copies of the petition and the affidavits filed to all of the following parties: 

  • The parent or parents of the child;
  • Any party with legal decision-making authority over the child or visitation rights; 
  • The guardian ad litem for the child or the child’s guardian if no one has been appointed;
  • A person or organization that has physical custody of the child or claims decision-making power or visitation rights; 
  • A prior agency or individual that appeared in the initial action.

The parties who have been served will be able to file objections to the grandparents’ petition. If they object, the court will hold a hearing and review the evidence and make a decision.

Custody Rights of Grandparents

When a child’s parents are deemed unsuitable, the child’s grandparents may petition the court for decision-making power over their grandchildren in order to gain legal physical custody.

The court will refuse this sort of petition unless all of the following conditions are met:

  • The grandparents are acting as the child’s legal guardians. 
  • It would be detrimental if the child were placed in the care of the parent who is demanding custody. 
  • The court has not granted an order for legal decision-making authority within a year, unless the child’s existing environment puts him or her in danger of emotional, moral, bodily, or mental damage. 
  • A parent of the child has died, the child’s parents are unmarried, or the parents are in the process of a divorce.

The petition for grandparent custody and legal decision-making authority will be refused if the court does not deem these elements to exist.

A grandparent, acting in loco parentis, takes on the role of a parent for the child. When a grandparent seeks legal decision-making power over a child, there is a rebuttable presumption that the child should be put in the custody of his or her parents.

To overcome this assumption, you must provide clear and persuasive evidence that placing the child in the custody of his or her parents is not in the child’s best interests. This will necessitate proof demonstrating that your grandchild’s physical, moral, mental, or emotional well-being would be jeopardized if the court put the child in the custody of the parent or permitted him or her to continue living with the parent.

If you wish to pursue custody of your grandchildren, an attorney at Colburn Hintze Maletta may review the facts you have concerning their situation.

Their knowledgeable and experienced family law attorneys can tell you if your petition for custody and legal decision-making authority over your grandchild is likely to succeed.

Adoption Rights of Grandparents 

If your grandchild has been adopted, any visitation rights you have will be terminated. However, if the person filing the petition to adopt your grandchild is your grandchild’s stepparent, and the stepparent is married to the child’s parent, your visits will not be terminated.

Moreover, if the state places a child for adoption, your visiting rights will be terminated immediately. If the child is later removed from the adoptive family, the court may reinstate your visitation rights.

Under ARS 8-103, any adult in Arizona can petition the court to adopt a child, even the child’s grandparents.

If you have previously petitioned for legal decision-making authority and the parental rights of your grandchild’s parents have been terminated, you are eligible to file for adoption. A court order allowing you temporary custody of your grandchild is required.

Additionally, adoption preference is granted to the grandparents of children protected under the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Grandparents Rights for Children Taken Out of State

If you are given visitation rights with your grandchild and the grandchild’s parent intends to relocate with the grandchild out of state, you may wonder if you can stop the relocation.

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in Sheehan v. Flower, 217 Ariz. 39 (App. 2007), that grandparents with visitation rights cannot prevent a parent with legal custody of a child from relocating to another state.

In that case, the grandmother used ARS 25-408 to challenge the relocation. The court, however, ruled that the provision did not apply to grandparents.

However, with the help of the legal team at Colburn Hintze Maletta, there may be a considerable amount of options available. 

Speak to an Arizona Grandparents Rights Lawyer Today

In Arizona, obtaining rights as a grandparent might be challenging. If you are being denied access to your grandchild or feel you should be granted custody due to the unfitness of the child’s parent, contact a family law attorney at Colburn Hintze Maletta.

Call (602) 825-2500 immediately to book a free, no-obligation consultation with a qualified Arizona grandparents rights attorney.

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I, recently, consulted with Darin after my wife filed for divorce. He was referred to me by a friend whom I very much trust. Darin was the antithesis of the first two attorneys I consulted (who were matter-of-fact and had very little empathy about the fact that I was struggling emotionally with what was transpiring). From the first few minutes of speaking with Darin, it was obvious that he was very knowledgeable and skilled with divorce and family matters. While that was most important to me, the thing that made the difference was his calming, logical, and empathetic approach. He took the time to listen and empathize with me. He took the time to understand what I wanted to achieve through this process and laid out my options. After the consultation, I knew he would be my attorney if I had to pull the trigger. I, ultimately, didn’t have to engage Darin’s services due to a reconciliation with my wife. I hope I never have to go through that process again, however, if I do, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt who I will be hiring to represent me…Darin R. Colburn. Darin, thank you for caring and being more than an attorney.

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I hired David Maletta and it was the best decision of my life. His knowledge, genuine interest, overall attitude, and ability to connect with people is incomparable. I could talk about all of this at length. I COULD do all of that, but that wouldn’t do David justice. He first and foremost demonstrates his interest and genuine care for his client. Being in uncharted territory with a criminal charge and nowhere to turn, David’s presence and personality put all nerves at ease. I went through a jury trial with David beside me. The trial ran for 3 days and I spent a significant amount of time with David one-on-one. During this stressful time, he wanted to hear my input and thoughts on everything. David was incredible from the first day I met him. Not only is he a great attorney, but he is also a great person who cares about people and finding justice for his clients. He connects to the human side of people. I can’t put into words how much David cares about the individual in a case. When it comes to the courtroom, there is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David.

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Arizona attorney Darin Colburn

“Because of Darin I got my daughter back”

Before I hired Darin I went through a total of 3 different attorneys in two different states fighting a jurisdiction battle, when my daughter was taken to a different state. It was a very difficult decision to switch attorneys at one of the most difficult, time sensitive and important times in my case, but I’m very glad I did. Upon receiving my file from previous attorneys Darin came very familiar with my case quickly. Like other people have explained he took the time to lay everything out and explain how the process was going to proceed and what to expect and continued to do this as new issues arrived. He is also very quick at responding to emails and phone calls. My case was getting close to trial as told by my previous attorneys, I did not want to go to trial as I know this is very costly (most attorneys will convince you that you need to.) Darin knew my situation, fought for what was right and got the results I wanted while avoiding a costly trial. He is extremely knowledgeable in the Child Support Guidelines as well. Because of Darin I got my daughter back. I would highly recommend him and would hire again for any future issues. Thanks Darin!

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Dave stayed with me while he pushed back and forth with Covid-19 and the delays with court. Once cited, the state basically decides that you’re guilty through the automatic suspension of your drivers license. Dave immediately took care of that problem and I never lost the privilege of driving. Dave took notes like crazy and was upfront about our uphill battle. I was also well aware that the plea deal that was given to us, was unacceptable and through Dave’s knowledge and experience I had put my trust in him to guide me to make the right decision on how to proceed. With Dave’s guidance I had decided that we needed to fight for something better than what the prosecutor was offering and Dave was 100 percent behind me on that decision. We knew the risks, be we also knew we had very little to lose based on the prosecutions stance. We decided to go to trial… Watching the prosecution and then watching Dave was night and day!! It was clear to the jury that the prosecution didn’t have their facts straight and were not addressing the facts that they could not address…There was a lot at stake for my personal life and my work life. I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.

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I had an incident and was Given the catch-all charge. There wasn’t really anything I could do by myself to get out of it. Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently to ensure that I would have the best possible outcome from my case. Which he successfully achieved! As of right now I am on the path to having my case fully dismissed. A couple things that really helped me through this process was that Tim did an amazing job at was answering my questions. He was available almost anytime and would respond promptly when he got my emails. He was also very approachable and comforting to be around while we had in person meetings and especially when I was at the court house. I would trust him and the company he works for with any other cases in the future and as of right now they will be my first choice if I need a lawyer in the future.

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I honestly just want to let it be known to any and everyone looking for an attorney on a case. Whether it be DUI, possession, or your every day to day traffic violations where you need representation attorney Tim Hintze is your man. You have to respect a man that listens to every request that you make on a case and he gets in there and gets it done. Tim has my respect as an attorney and being a well-rounded representer. From him being honest on the possibility and options for your case to him being easy to work and communicate with via over the phone or face to face Mr. Hintze is working it out.

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