A previous post here discussed what grandparents can do if their own adult child dies and leaves behind children. Generally speaking, the grandparents need to rely on Arizona’s Grandparent Visitation Statue to get court-ordered visits with grandchildren, and getting custody would usually be reserved to special circumstances.
Sadly, families in Phoenix may also face a situation in which both of a child’s parents die, leaving a grandchild as an orphan. This can happen as a result of a tragic accident involving both parents or just on account of life circumstances.
Grandparents still have rights to visits and custody in this sort of situation, although the legal procedure for exercising these rights is a little bit different. Specifically, grandparents who are interested in stepping in and taking the place of a child’s deceased parents would likely want to consider seeking a guardianship over their grandchild and, further, asking a court to name the grandparents as guardians.
A guardianship will basically give grandparents the same authority over their grandchildren that they would have were they the child’s parents. As such, they have the legal right to raise the child and make important decisions on the child’s behalf. But, guardianships are not automatic. For one, others might disagree that a guardianship is necessary or that the child’s grandparents are the most suitable guardians. Even if there is no disagreement, a judge still needs to be convinced that a guardianship is in the child’s best interest and that the legal requirements have been satisfied. An attorney with experience advocating for the rights of Arizona grandparents may be able to assist those in need of a guardianship for their grandchildren.