GRANDPARENT VISITATION RIGHTS
Grandparent Visitation Rights-Part 2 is a continuation of our previous post Grandparent Visitation Rights-Part 1. In Part 1 we discussed the background and history of grandparent visitation. Part 2 discusses the process of preparing and filing a Petition to Establish Grandparent Visitation Rights.
According to Arizona law the court may grant grandparent visitation rights while a child is a minor if the court finds that the visitation is in the child’s best interests and that any of the following is true:
- One of the legal parents is deceased or has been missing at least three months. For the purposes of this paragraph, 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.
- 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.
- For grandparent or great-grandparent visitation, the marriage of the parents of the child has been dissolved for at least three months.
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.
If logistically possible and appropriate, the court shall order visitation by a grandparent or great-grandparent if the child is residing or spending time with the parent through whom the grandparent or great-grandparent claims a right of access to the child.
A grandparent or great-grandparent seeking visitation rights under this section shall petition in the same action in which the family court previously decided legal decision-making and parenting time or, if no such case existed, by separate petition in the county of the child’s home state. Statewide Paralegal in Arizona can prepare these legal documents if Arizona is the home state of residence of the children.
All grandparent visitation rights granted under this section automatically terminate if the child is adopted or placed for adoption. If the child is removed from an adoptive placement, the court may reinstate the grandparent visitation rights. This subsection does not apply if the child is adopted by the spouse of a natural parent after the natural parent remarries.
The process for obtaining a court order for grandparent or great-grandparent visitation rights in Arizona requires that you provide the court with information about yourself and the legal parents or guardians of the child. As noted above, if the parents are divorced, you use the existing case number for the petition for visitation.
The court will want to know what your relationship has been with the child or children for the past 6 months and why you believe it is in the best interests of the children to have visitation with you. You will also propose what visitation arrangements you think are best for the children. You will include what kind of transportation arrangements will be made for visitation, what you propose for weekends, school breaks, holidays, and telephone calls.
If you are asking for grandparent or great-grandparent visitation rights through your son, you must indicate whether paternity was establish by marriage, child support order, filing an acknowledgment of paternity through the hospital paternity program, or a court order for paternity.
When you work with Statewide Paralegal in Tucson, Phoenix and Mesa Arizona to file your petition for grandparent visitation rights, we will file your petition in the county where you, the child, or the parents/legal guardians live.We will also ensure the court gets all of the required originals and copies of the petition for visitation. As part of the process, we will take the documents down to the court clerk and then we will serve the papers on the other parties to the petition. If both parents are living and unless an order has been signed by a judge specifically stating that the parental rights of one of the parents has been “permanently severed” we must serve the papers on both parents, even if your own son or daughter agrees with your visitation request.
Once the Petition to Establish Grandparent Visitation Rights and supporting documents are served on the parents or legal guardians, she or he has a certain number of days to file a response. The response is the opportunity for the parent(s) to let the court know if they disagree with the facts you presented in your petition or if they disagree with court-ordered visitation.
The next step in the process depends on whether or not the parents or legal guardians responded to your petition. If there was no response, then we will file the papers for you that indicate to the court that all the other parties defaulted or did not file papers that disagreed with your petition. The court will then move forward with a court order. If the parents or legal guardians do file a response, the court will notify all parties involved of a hearing or conference date after which the court will make a decision as to your visitation rights.
If you feel you need to petition the court to ensure you have visitation with your grandchildren, our Tucson legal document preparers of Arizona Statewide Paralegal can prepare all of the documents you need. We will then file the documents with the court and ensure that the parents or legal guardians are properly served. We will follow your petition to the end of the process to make this as easy as possible given the difficult circumstances. Contact our office at 4011 E. Broadway Suite 300, Tucson, AZ 85711 today to start the process.