Occasionally, third parties, including grandparents, may have an interest in a child custody matter. They may worry about whether they can maintain a relationship with the children in a family.
In some cases, they may want to go to court in pursuit of visitation. A court order of visitation helps to ensure that someone can regularly spend time with minor children. Even if a grandparent has an excellent relationship with their grandchildren, minors do not fully control their own lives. A parent can easily intervene to prevent grandparents from spending time with their grandchildren.
When is it possible for a grandparent in Arizona to request visitation with their grandchildren?
When the parents never married
Children born to unmarried parents may experience more instability throughout their lives depending on family circumstances. Single parents may struggle financially, making grandparent input that much more important. Grandchildren may regularly spend time with grandparents who serve as care providers. The grandchildren may also have to endure changing family dynamics whenever either parent begins a new romantic relationship. Grandparents concerned about their grandchildren can request visitation under Arizona state law if the parents of the children never married.
When one parent dies
In a situation where one parent dies while the children are still minors, Arizona state law allows grandparents to request visitation.
When the parents divorce
The other time that Arizona statutes allow a grandparent to requested visitation is when there has been a significant change to the family unit. Typically, a divorce will be the precipitating event that causes a grandparent to seek visitation. If their child is not the custodial parents after a divorce, a grandparent can ask the courts to grant them visitation rights. Sadly, grandparents will usually need to wait three months after the courts finalize the divorce to request visitation. They may go months or possibly more than a year without contact with their grandchildren.
Many grandparents will find that the negative emotions generated by visitation request in family court will decrease over time. Parents who are previously hostile may even come to respect a grandparent who demonstrated that degree of dedication toward their grandchildren.
In many cases, requesting formal visitation rights may help grandparents maintain relationships with their grandchildren and provide them with support when their family unit changes.