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Grandparents today are stepping up into new roles, especially when parents are absent or unable to care for their kids. Arizona law gives grandparents the right to maintain a loving family relationship with their grandchildren through visitation and custody relationships when necessary.

Visitation rights

The law envisions grandparents exercising their visitation rights in these scenarios:
  • The parents of the grandchild are divorced or legally separated or their marriage was annulled
  • Child custody was given to someone other than that child’s parents
  • One of the grandchild’s parents has passed away
Here in AZ, if the court believes that a regular schedule of visits between grandparent and grandchild would be in the child’s best interests in any of those scenarios, then grandparent visitation rights may be granted. However, although grandparents have a right to ask for visitation privileges, the court has no legal obligation to grant them.

To increase their opportunity for visitation rights, grandparents must present the most effective documents possible to the court. Working with an experienced Arizona legal document preparation service helps ensure that your petition is written correctly and you have all the required supporting paperwork.

Child custody and grandparent rights

In AZ, state law allows a grandparent to file a petition for partial or full child custody in any of these situations:
  • When the child has been removed from a parent’s home by law enforcement or other state agencies
  • In the event of alleged acts of abuse in the home
  • When a grandparent has already been giving primary support to the child

Terminating or modifying grandparent rights

The rights of grandparents can be changed or terminated if the court believes that the circumstances around the child have changed. For example, further modification or termination could result from:
  • Legal adoption of the child
  • A parent loses his or her parental rights
  • Evolving best interests of the child

Exemption for intact families

It’s important to note that in Arizona intact families are exempt from grandparent visitation claims. For a grandparent to ask a court for visitation rights, one of the following conditions needs to be met:
  • The parents’ marriage must have been legally dissolved for a minimum of 3 months before the petition
  • One or both parents must be deceased
  • The child was born out of wedlock
  • A parent has been officially missing for at least three months
If a child was born out of wedlock, and if parents have later married, then that family is still considered intact, so grandparents cannot sue for lack of visitation alone.

Grandparents who qualify under any of these exemptions can petition the court for visitation rights during paternity or divorce hearings. Otherwise, they must petition the court separately.

Everything revolves around the children

Changes in Arizona family law now envision that other family members beyond grandparents (aunts, uncles, siblings, step-siblings) can sue for visiting rights. Arizona law specifically grants the same options to great-grandparents as for grandparents.

Judges are obligated to determine the best interests of the child and make appropriate orders to protect them. To have the best chance of securing visitation rights or custody, work with an experienced document preparer.

Do you have questions about visitation or custody? AZ Diamond Documents staff can help with your petition and all supporting documents.


Our Arizona Certified Legal Document Preparers have the experience your family needs.

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