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Is there something I can do to get custody without court?

As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, concerned grandparents who have grandkids that need care and loving support can obtain the legal authority they need to so provide in certain circumstances.

However, this process will almost inevitably involve a trip to court that could be quite contentious and complicated, particularly if the child's parent or parents object to the grandparents' taking custody.

As much as they love their grandkids, grandparents may start at that point to look for other options for pursuing grandparents' custody rights, as they may not be able to handle the expense, time and stress of high-conflict and difficult litigation.

Of course, if they suspect child abuse or neglect, grandparents in the Phoenix area can always call the child welfare authorities. This is oftentimes the right thing to do and may even be one's duty, but the risk in doing so is that the Arizona authorities may investigate but find insufficient evidence of child abuse or neglect. On the other hand, they may take steps to protect the children but do so without allowing the grandparents to be involved.

State law also allows for grandparents to utilize a relatively unknown procedure called a delegation of powers. This is a type of power of attorney, which Arizona law recognizes, in which a parent can turn over his or her authority to someone else, including grandparents, for a period of up to six months.

In other words, with very few conditions, grandparents can have their son or daughter vest them with full legal authority to raise and rear the child. A parent is allowed to revoke the authority at any time and will have to renew the delegation when it expires.

The advantage to this approach is that it gives grandparents the power they need to care for their beloved grandchildren without having to go to court. The flip side is that a parent has to be convinced to sign a parental delegation and not revoke it. Whether this is an option in a given case should be discussed with one's attorney.

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