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.
One of the things we fully appreciate is that a grandparent cannot presume upon being allowed to visit his or her grandchildren. In order to get a court order requiring visits, a grandparent has to prove certain specific items, including that not allowing visits would be detrimental to the child.
Because we appreciate this point, we prepare our cases conservatively, fully ready to convince a judge that a grandparent indeed does have a good relationship with his or her grandchildren and that not allowing contact would be detrimental to the child even though the parent objects to the visits.
In unfortunate situations in which a parent is unwilling or unable to care for his or her children, we are also able to assist grandparents with what Arizona calls in loco parentis proceedings. In these sorts of cases, a grandparent may be able to serve as the custodial caretaker of a child in lieu of having to send a child to foster care through the state welfare system.