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Phoenix Divorce Law Blog

We help grandparents connect with their grandchildren

A previous post on this blog reminded Phoenix, Arizona, grandparents that getting court-ordered visitation of the grandchildren is an uphill battle. It is true that parents have special privileges to control who sees their children and when, even when it comes to their children's own grandparents.

Thus, the best way for grandparents in Arizona to see their grandchildren is to maintain a decent enough relationship with the children's parents or surviving parent. However, this doesn't mean that grandparents should just give up if they wind up having a longstanding relationship with their grandchildren restricted or cut off. After sometimes parents really do act out of malice or ill-will when they withhold visits, and grandparents at that point are well justified and standing up for what rights they do have under Arizona law.

We can help grandparents raising grandchildren

A previous post on this blog reported that many children in the Phoenix area currently live with their grandparents. Oftentimes, this arrangement is not handled through Arizona's child welfare system, which means the grandparents may at some point need to advocate for their legal rights to continue to raise or to at least have frequent visits with their grandchildren.

Although this blog has noted that, ultimately, the rights of a child's legal parents pull weight over grandparents' rights, there are still some options available to involved grandparents who want to spend time and have on ongoing relationship with their grandchildren. Our law office can help concerned grandparents stand up for or protect these rights.

What will courts consider before awarding grandparent visitation?

Previous posts on this blog have discussed how, unfortunately, it can be difficult for grandparents to get court-ordered visitation in Arizona, even though Phoenix is known for a having a significant number of retirees, many of whom are grandparents and probably want to have a relationship with their child.

However, while it is difficult, getting grandparents visitation rights is not an impossible task in Arizona. First, as has been discussed previously in this blog, a grandparent has to be legally eligible to ask for court-ordered visitation. Assuming that they do qualify, an Arizona court will decide whether or not the visitation would be in the best interest of the child.

Lots of Arizona children live with their grandparents

Even several years ago, many children in Arizona and across the country wound up living with their grandparents for a number of reasons. While some of these children were placed with their grandparents as part of the state's child welfare system, many others lived with grandparents without the state's intervention, either with or without their parents also being in the home.

According to some relatively recent statistics, a little over 50,000 grandparents claimed that they were the primary caregivers for their grandchildren. The clear majority of these grandparents are what one might think of as young, being under 60 years old themselves. Contrary to what might be a misconception, children do tend to fare okay financially while with their grandparents, as only 1 in 5 households headed up by a grandparent suffered under poverty.

Rules that apply when parents need to move

One of the hardest things to deal with when parents are not living in the same home as their children is the possibility that either they will have to move or the child's other parent will say that they need to move. While there are often good or at lease credible reasons for moving, moves still can significant disrupt or even effectively cut off a parent's ability to have a relationship with his or her child by, as a practical matter, cutting off the parent's visitation rights.

Fortunately, Arizona law gives parents some protection from another parent, oftentimes the one who has primary custody of the child, from moving suddenly or out of spite for the other parent. Under the law, the parent who wants to move will generally have to give the other parent 45 days notice of the move if the move is going to be outside of Arizona or, even if within the state's borders, more than 100 miles from the parent's current residence.

Review of Arizona's relocation rules

Many parents in the Phoenix area realize that in some point in their lives, they are going to have to move their family, perhaps even several miles or even hundreds of miles from their current location. It is hard enough to do this when parents live together, but being a single parent who needs to move with the child's mother or father to consider tends to add an extra layer of complication, particularly when the other parent does not agree with the move.

Like other states, Arizona has a law covering situations when parent or the other has to move. This law does not apply to all moves. A parent need only provide 45 days' advance written notice to the other parent of the planned move when the move is going to be more than 100 miles or is going to be to somewhere outside the State of Arizona.

Don't navigate the child support process alone

Handling all of the challenges a divorce brings with it is undeniably draining. Many of these elements, however, are necessary not only for the continued well-being of you and your ex-spouse, but any children involved as well. Child support is one such element. While providing for your children is something you're obviously dedicated to, understanding the nuances of child support payments can be difficult. Thankfully, you don't have to navigate the process alone.

At John Bednarz, P.C., you can expect to find empathetic and passionate representation in these matters. We understand the uncertainty divorce and child support payments can inject into your life and how those feelings can become complicated by your desire to provide for your children while also maintaining good financial health. Whether you're entering into child support payments for the first time or have been paying for quite some time and need a change, the good news is that these matters are fairly flexible in comparison to other legal situations.

When is paternity presumed in Arizona?

Paternity can be a complicated matter, rife with contentiousness. There are multiple factors that affect the mother, the presumed father and the child. It is imperative that the parents understand what the law says about presumption of paternity and how to address any issues that arise with a case from the perspectives of everyone involved.

There will be a presumption of paternity, if the man and the mother were married at any juncture in the 10 months that immediately precede the child's birth, or if the child is born within 10 months of the end of the marriage, whether it is through divorce, legal separation, invalidation, annulment and death. If genetic testing is done, and it shows a minimum of 95 percent probability of paternity, the man will be presumed to be the biological father.

Failure to pay child support and license suspensions

Arizona will take steps to punish a parent who is obligated to pay child support to a custodial parent and fails to do so. One method that the state will use to try to get the payments or to assess penalties is license suspension.

If the person has failed to pay child support and is a minimum of six months behind in the payments, the court has options. These include moving a driver's license or recreational license suspension by sending a certificate of noncompliance to the relevant agency, or inform the department of transportation that the noncommercial driver's license be restricted by sending a certificate of noncompliance.

A lawyer can assist with a state paternity suit in Arizona

When there is a paternity issue, it can be a worrisome and problematic issue to overcome. This is something that often arises with unmarried people who are either unsure as to the paternity or are embroiled in a dispute. It is easy to forget the children when the parents disagree about major issues such as paternity, but a main factor in these cases is the best interests of the child. Having legal assistance is vital not just to satisfy the parents or possible parents, but for the child as well.

There are generally two different ways in which paternity cases will arise. First, the state might bring action to recover costs accrued from public assistance and to get child support from the unmarried father. Second, a parent might begin an action to establish child support and to give the legal father his legal decision-making and parenting time rights.  Either party can file to establish paternity, legal decision-making, parenting time and child support.