Some divorces can leave families fractured, and disputes about custody and visitation can ultimately lead to grandparents being pushed out of their grandchildren’s lives. This is an unfortunate consequence of marital dissolution, and is not the fault of either the children or their grandparents.
While laws in the State of Arizona don’t expressly grant rights of visitation to grandparents based solely on on familial relationships, there are avenues you can take to ensure that you still get to see your grandkids, even in the wake of a troublesome divorce and unfriendly relationship between the grandchild’s parents.
To achieve the best results, however, you’ll want to turn to an experienced divorce and family lawyer like the Law Offices of Steven N. Cole. Our team has handled a wide range of cases, including fighting for grandparents’ right to visitation in the wake of a messy divorce.
Path to Visitation
To create a legally enforceable right to visit your grandchildren, a petition must be filed with the court. Under Arizona Supreme Court precedent, such rights can be established after the child’s parents have been divorced for more than three months.
If this criteria is met, the court will then look at a number of factors:
Grandparent’s temperament and stability
Child’s best interests
Existing positive relationship between child and grandparent
Grandchild’s desire to see grandparents
Mutual benefit of both
grandparents and grandchildren
Parent’s motivation for preventing visitation
Granparent’s motivation for pursuing visitation rights
Our team will review the unique characteristics of your situation and develop a strategy for pursuing visitation rights, work with you to complete and submit all necessary documentation, present evidence, and remain an advocate and source of guidance throughout the process.
Custody for Grandparents
In some extreme circumstances, a grandchild’s birth parents may be deemed unfit to provide care, and grandparents may seek custody. In relation to a divorce, this scenario can occur when both parties (parents/guardians) are engaged in domestic violence, substance abuse, excessive gambling, or other behaviors that threaten the stability of the home and the wellbeing of the child.
These difficult situations are further complicated by the parents fighting to keep custody, other relatives also petitioning for custody, and other extenuating circumstances. A strong consideration is made for “in loco parentis” – that is, if you’ve been the primary caretaker of your grandchild for some time (more than a year, in some courts). The court will also assess your age, health, financial stability, and living space before considering custody.
If this applies to you and your family, the Law Offices of Steven N. Cole can certainly help! We’ll help you evaluate all of the involved factors, and work with you to develop a plan, outline possible solutions, and move forward throughout the process of petitions, hearings, and court appearances. Family law experience is imperative in these cases, and our team has been fighting for the best interest of families and their children for more than 25 years.
Whether you’re seeking custody or visitation rights, our team has the expertise to help you present your best case, gather the necessary information, and achieve your desired outcomes. To get started with a free consultation, contact the Law Offices of Steven N. Cole today!