Although this blog has discussed it before, it may be helpful to Phoenix grandparents to have a refresher on what their visitation rights are under Arizona law.
After all, sometimes court-ordered grandparents' visitation is the only way to make sure that the important relationship between a grandparent and their grandchild is preserved. In many cases, the visits may also be a lifeline of support to the child involved, as the grandparents have historically provided the child with some measure of stability in an otherwise turbulent life.
As with most child custody and parenting time matters, the big question that a court will ask when presented with a request for court-ordered visits by grandparents is whether said visits are in the best interest of the child. The court's decision in this respect will depend on a number of factors, which can be highly specific to the circumstances of a case.
However, grandparents must first prove that they are eligible for court-ordered visits in the first place, as such visits are only available in limited circumstances. The key is that, ordinarily, married parents will be left to decide whether and to what extent their children will be allowed to see grandparents.
However, when one parent has died, or when a child's parents were unmarried at the time of the child's birth and remain so at the time of a grandparent's visitation request, then the request for court-ordered grandparents' visitation may proceed. As an additional benefit that is almost unique to the grandparents of Arizona children, they may also ask for visits should the child's parents divorce. However, grandparents may only do so once three months have elapsed from the time the divorce is finalized.
It can be hard for a grandparent in Arizona to get court-ordered visits for a number of reasons. Knowing this, many seek out professional legal help when doing so.