This blog has frequently discussed the hurdles and steps Phoenix, Arizona, grandparents may have to navigate if they want to get court-ordered child custody of their grandchildren. Generally speaking, a request for relative visitation rights and, especially, a request to have custody of one's grandchildren, is best handled through an experienced Phoenix-area grandparents' rights attorney.
However, there are certain basic questions a grandparent may have before even deciding to visit a lawyer's office, particularly when it comes to satisfying the legal prerequisites for getting custody as a child's grandparent.
For instance, one might wonder if a person's grandchild actually has to live with him or her before a grandparent can claim custody. While the fact that a grandchild has lived with his or her grandparents certainly helps a grandparent's case, it is not strictly necessary.
As a previous post on this blog has discussed, What is necessary is that a grandparent prove that he or she has acted in what is called "in loco parentis" to his or her grandchild. This doesn't require that a child live with his or her grandparents for any given time, but grandparents who want custody will have to show that they have truly been a parental figure in the child's life. The grandparent will have to prove that it would be substantially detrimental to the child to be in the custody of either natural parent who wants custody.
The requirements for getting custody as a grandparent through the appropriate petition to the court are complicated and require some legal skill and experience to meet. With the right help, though, grandparents who find themselves having to step in to help their grandchildren stay safe and healthy do have legal options available to them.