Adoption is a legal practice that allows an adult to become the legal parent of a child for whom they did not biologically create. Individuals in Arizona may choose to adopt children from the foster care system or from private adoption agencies. Some even choose to look overseas to expand their families. When a child is adopted, their biological parents' rights to them are severed and the child becomes the legal responsibility of the adoptive parents.
While a grandparent may gain a grandchild if adoption happens in their family, they may also lose a grandchild if the child's parent elects to give their offspring up for adoption. Grandparents do not retain their rights to visitation or custody of their biological grandchildren if the children's biological parents relinquish their rights to them. When biological parents' rights are cut off, all other biological familial relationships are also considered terminated.
Grandparents do, however, have some rights to secure time with the children they love when the children's parents go through separations and divorces. For example, if a child's parents divorce, their grandparents may petition for visitation time with them once three months have passed since the finalization of the divorce. Similarly, the death of a child's parent may avail their grandparents on the deceased parent's side of the family to seek legally enforceable time with the child through visitation.
Decisions regarding grandparent visitation must support the best interests of the children who will be impacted by the deliberations. Not all grandparents will prevail when they seek to secure time with their grandchildren. Those who wish to better understand their rights with regard to this important family law topic are encouraged to get more information about their own unique situation for case-specific guidance.