The ones most affected by a troubled marriage are the children of the estranged couple. In order to provide those children with stability in their tender years, it is often the grandparents who step in to help. However, grandparents can have access to those children only after establishing visitation rights. Laws in Arizona recognize a grandparent’s right to visitation and have statutes in place to enable that. For the knowledge of Maricopa County residents, the following is a brief on grandparents’ rights in the state.
The first step for the grandparent wanting to establish visitation rights will be to file a petition. A grandparent has to keep in mind that the child must have resided in Arizona for at least six months. In some cases, however, it is possible to file a petition even when a child has not resided in Arizona for six months, but that is possible on a case-to-case basis. In addition, at least one of three conditions that are mentioned in the statute must be met for the grandparent to successfully obtain visitation rights.
The first of those conditions says that a grandparent can file a petition for seeking visitation rights when the parents of the child have been divorced for at least three months. The second condition says that a grandparent can seek visitation rights when at least one parent is missing or dead for at least three months. The third and final condition says that a grandparent can seek access to the child when that child was born out of wedlock and that child’s parents are still unmarried at the time of filing the petition.
In matters related to grandparents’ rights, courts in Arizona consider the best interests of the child as the most important determining factor. While the best interests can often be apparent in matters related to a grandparent seeking visitation rights for a child whose parents are estranged, separated, divorced or deceased, it may be a challenge to establish the same in court. In view of this challenge, grandparents may be in a stronger position if they choose to seek help from an experienced family law attorney.