Readers of this blog know the challenges that can arise from child custody disputes. Though these fights often arise in the context of a divorce, it is by no means the only time child custody can become an issue. In fact, quite often a child custody battle can occur when there is a question regarding a mother or father's parenting ability. For example, parents who have substance abuse problems may be unable to adequately and safely care for their children. Also, parents who travel extensively for work and leave children home alone may be incapable of providing the support the child needs.
In these instances, a grandparent may wish to seek custody rights. Grandparents' rights are recognized in Arizona, meaning a child's grandparents can seek custody or visitation rights. Unless an agreement is reached otherwise, a grandparent will have to present his or her case to a judge. A judge will make the custody determination based on the best interest of the child. To determine what is best for the child, a judge may consider a whole host of factors, including the child's relationship with grandchildren, the parent's history of substance abuse, the parent's history of physical abuse, and the financial and emotional stability of the homes in question.
Though many grandparents take care of their grandchildren, it is important they gain legal custody. Without legal custody, a grandparent may be disallowed from making important decisions regarding the child's upbringing. This includes education and medical decisions. Therefore, grandparents who wish to look out for the best interests of their grandchildren should be sure they are in a legally sound position to do so.
An Arizona family law attorney can assist grandparents who wish to obtain visitation or custody rights to their grandchildren. A lawyer can help grandparents assess their situation and present a case that attempts to show the child is in the hands of unfit parents and would be better off with his or her grandparents.
Source: American News Report, "Child Custody Not Limited to Divorce," April 2, 2014