A Child’s Best Interest if Top Priority

Are you considering pursuing grandparent’s rights for your grandchildren through the courts? Several scenarios can lead to grandparents wanting or needing to have rights for their grandchild.

It’s important to understand that courts will always err on the side of what’s in the child’s best interest, regardless of the surrounding circumstances. What this can mean for you is that if you are pursuing these rights, you must provide thorough evidence that granting them is in the utmost best interest of the children.

With the help of an experienced attorney, you can explore the options available to you, such as pursuing custody or adoption. Read on to learn more.

A Petition for Visitation Rights

While a couple may pursue a divorce, custody questions are one of the most challenging, imperative, and emotional topics to discuss. In many cases, any animosity a party may have may also be transferred to the inlaws, making grandparents vulnerable to being cut out of their grandchildren’s lives.

Suppose visitation with grandparents is in the child’s best interest. In that case, courts may grant visitation to the grandparents even without approval from the parents if the child’s parents were never married or if three months have passed after the divorce is final, and the parent of the non-custodial parent wishes to file for visitation.

Another scenario that may be an option is if the grandparent’s child has been missing for three months or is deceased. In these cases, the grandparent may choose to pursue visitation rights to their grandchildren.

Similarly, other family members, such as uncles, aunts, cousins, and more, may choose to pursue visitation rights through “third-party rights.

What Factors Will Courts Review in Grandparent’s Rights Cases?

Courts will need to review some important aspects to ensure that the grandparent’s rights are what’s best for the children.

One of the most critical aspects they will consider is the relationship between the grandparents and the child. Suppose the relationship has been thriving and consistent throughout the child’s life, only interrupted by the divorce proceedings. In that case, this strongly indicates that the custodial parent may wish to alienate the grandparents.

The motivation to seek rights on behalf of the grandparents or deny rights on behalf of the parent will also be thoroughly examined. Does the parent believe that a grandparent being active in the child’s life will have detrimental circumstances? If so, the parent must provide sufficient evidence supporting that in court.

Similarly, if the grandparent is adamant that their presence is necessary for the emotional and physical well-being of the child, they must present evidence for this as well.

Also, courts will closely examine to what extent the visitation request is asking for and if that will interfere with the parent-child relationship. Other factors, such as sports or other extracurricular activities that benefit the child’s well-being may also come into play. For example, if the grandparent requests that they have visitation rights daily, this is likely to be denied vs. a more realistic timeframe, such as a weekend or weeknight day. A weekend or weeknight visitation may be less intrusive to a child’s activities schedule and time with their custodial parent.

For parents of a deceased child, maintaining relationships with extended family such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles may be imperative to the child’s best interests, which can be proven in court.

Protection of the Grandchildren

In circumstances where the grandchild or grandchildren’s lives may be in danger, courts will need to see sufficient evidence of alleged abuse or neglect. In some households, significant drug or alcohol use may be evident, which can mean that the child should be removed from the home for their best interest.

Similarly, if abuse or neglect is evident, this can be challenging to prove, but if medical or police records are present regarding the allegations, courts will choose to ensure that the child’s safety is of utmost importance and rule accordingly.

In all scenarios, an experienced family law attorney is well-versed in Arizona laws and can help navigate the delicate landscape of pursuing grandparents’ rights.

First Step in Pursuing Custody or Visitation

The first step to pursuing grandparent custody or visitation in Arizona is to work with your family law attorney to file a petition for your request.

The petition must be filed and then served on all relevant parties. The relevant parties may be the parents, if both are alive at the time of the petition, any legal guardians that the child or children may have, and any other relevant parties.

Each party will have the opportunity to contest the petition and provide evidence supporting their decision.

Your attorney can help you prepare for the impending trial to ensure that any reasons you have for pursuing rights are explicitly evident in the courts and prove that having these rights is in the best interest of the child or children.

Well Rounded Experience

Included in a vast knowledge and experience list as a family law attorney, our team also has nearly 30 years of experience in education. This unique perspective provides a solid foundation for what is in the best interest of children from all backgrounds and ages and how to prove this in court sufficiently.

We work closely with our clients to ensure that they can establish their rights as grandparents and have access to those they love the most.

If you are experiencing being shut out of your grandchildren’s lives, consider enacting your grandparent’s rights and pursuing visitation or other means of a continued relationship with your grandchildren.

Call our office at 623-267-0026 to schedule your consultation and learn more about how our team can best assist you.