Divorce is increasing in the United States, including in Arizona. In fact, some statistics say that the national divorce rate has reached almost 50 percent. With the disintegration of families, children often suffer in the process. Hence, there is a need for grandparents to play a more significant role in the family. For example, there is the case of two grandparents who love their grandchildren very much.
As Phoenix, Arizona residents would agree, divorce becomes inherently more complicated when children are involved. While spouses can look forward to a better future ahead, children are sometimes left feeling insecure, believing that parents should remain together and live under the same roof. While always keeping the best interests of the child in mind, a court often orders one parent to take custody of a child and orders the other parent to pay child support.
Most divorced spouses in Arizona would agree that child custody is one of the most critical aspects after a divorce petition is accepted. To avoid confusion or unwanted incidents regarding child custody, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act was devised by the Uniform Law Commissioners -- by 1981, every state adopted the act.
Much like any state, child custody disputes in Arizona can become even more complicated if grandparents enter the equation. For a variety of reasons, parents are sometimes unable to care for their children and their own parents must step in. For their part, grandparents must understand the differences between relative visitation rights and custody rights.
When raising children the phrase "it takes a village" is often used. And, many parents likely agree with this sentiment. Parents often take the advice, suggestions and help from friends and family when raising their children. However, when it comes down to it, parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit. In most cases, they have the right to make all important decisions about their child including who their child can associate with -- this includes grandparents.
Divorce and issues relating to child support and child custody are not new issues; they have existed for decades and many family law attorneys are very familiar with the laws and possible resolutions. However, there are some issues related to child custody that are not as commonly discussed but that nevertheless are very important to those people experiencing them. One of those lesser-discussed issues is grandparent visitation.
When parents divorce, it's not always the immediate family that's affected. Sometimes, the grandparents of the children are impacted also. Grandparents may wonder if they will still be allowed to see the children after the divorce, or if access to the children will be limited. This may be a particular concern if the relationship between the grandparents and a parent is strained. Luckily, Arizona law allows for grandparents to have visitation rights in certain circumstances.
The saga continues. Last week, we learned that celebrity Bethenny Frankel refused her estranged husband's request for a lump sum of $10 million to settle their divorce. After 15 months, the two have still not finalized their divorce case. One of the issues is Jason Hoppy's claim that he helped Ms. Frankel build her Skinnygirl Cocktails company, a business she reportedly sold for $100 million in 2011. He wants a portion of the proceeds.
Recently, a bill in the Arizona legislature affecting divorced parents wishing to move was voted down in the House. Currently, when the custodial parent, often the parent with the children most of the time, wants to move out of Arizona or more than 100 miles away, she or he is required to notify the other parent, called the non-custodial parent. Sometimes, court approval is necessary prior to moving. The proposed bill sought to shorten the geographical distance, so that a move more than 10 miles away would require the custodial parent to give a 45-day notice to the non-custodial parent. As with current law, the bill includes instances where court approval would also be necessary.
Arizona law recognizes the important role grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. The law has put into place protections for grandparents' custodial and visitation rights of their grandchildren. The law also outlines how grandparents may obtain child custody or visitation rights to their grandchildren.