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When can a grandparent file for custody of a grandchild?

When raising children the phrase "it takes a village" is often used. And, many parents likely agree with this sentiment. Parents often take the advice, suggestions and help from friends and family when raising their children. However, when it comes down to it, parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit. In most cases, they have the right to make all important decisions about their child including who their child can associate with -- this includes grandparents.

Since parents have so much control, the Arizona laws limit the situations where grandparents are allowed to ask for custody over a grandchild. In most cases, the court will defer to the judgment of the parent in allowing a relationship with a grandparent. In fact, section 25-409(B) of the Arizona family code creates a presumption that it is in the children's best interests to be raised by their parents.

However, there are situations where a grandparent can petition for custody. Specifically, one of three situations must be true. If the child's parents are getting separated or divorced then the grandparent may be able to file for custody rights. If the child's parents are not legally married to one another at the time the petition is filed, the grandparent may be able to obtain rights. Finally, the grandparent can also petition for rights if one of the child's legal parents has died.

Just because one of these conditions is met, does not mean that the grandparent is entitled to visitation rights. There are other legal conditions that must also be satisfied. While this post cannot provide legal advice, an attorney can help Arizona grandparents determine if they can file for custody rights for their grandchildren.

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