When parents divorce, it’s not always the immediate family that’s affected. Sometimes, the grandparents of the children are impacted also. Grandparents may wonder if they will still be allowed to see the children after the divorce, or if access to the children will be limited. This may be a particular concern if the relationship between the grandparents and a parent is strained. Luckily, Arizona law allows for grandparents to have visitation rights in certain circumstances.
Specifically, a judge may grant visitation if the children’s’ parents have been divorced for at least three months, or if the parents were never married. In making the determination about whether to allow grandparents to visit the children, the judge may look to certain factors. These factors include the wishes of both the parents and grandparents, the strength of the relationship between the children and the grandparents, the distance between the grandparents and the children and the length of time the grandparents have been in the children’s’ lives. Grandparents with a proven strong and lengthy relationship with their grandchildren may have a good chance of receiving visitation rights.
Grandparent visitation may be easier to achieve if it can be proven that there was domestic violence or substance abuse in the marriage. This is because courts are more inclined to allow children to be with stable, non-abusive grandparents in such situations. This works both ways, however; a Court may not grant visitation with a grandparent if it is shown that the he or she has substance abuse issues or if the grandparent’s marriage suffers from domestic violence.
In any scenario, a judge will look to what is in the best interest of the children. If the judge believes the children will be best served with their grandparents in their lives, visitation may be allowed. And if the children are better off seeing very little of their grandparents, that may be the judge’s ruling. Each case is specific to the family; an Arizona attorney with family law experience can provide assistance.