Some parental decisions profoundly affect the children involved. Has your son- or daughter-in-law refused to allow you to see your grandchildren? This is especially common in these situations:
- Your child has died and their spouse opposes grandparent visitation
- Your child isn’t married to their children’s other parent
- Your child has gotten a divorce and their ex opposes grandparent visitation
Grandparents can provide child care assistance, stability and a fresh point of view to parents. They can provide a long lifetime’s experience and extra love and caring to their grandchildren. Grandparents can be crucial in their grandchildren’s lives. It may be time to take legal action to secure visitation with your grandchildren.
Arizona law allows grandparents (and great-grandparents) to seek visitation with their grandchildren when it is in the grandchildren’s best interest.
How do I apply for grandchild visitation?
With the help of an experienced attorney, you would file a petition with the court. This petition must be verified or supported by an affidavit that includes detailed facts supporting your argument for why the visitation is in your grandchild’s best interest.
Along with your petition, you must also provide notice to the child’s legal parents, any third parties with legal decision-making authority or visitation rights with the child, any guardian or guardian ad litem, any person or agency in possession of the child, and any other person or agency with rights over the child. Your lawyer can help you make sure all the right people and agencies receive notice.
When the court considers whether grandparent visitation is in the grandchild’s best interest, it will give special weight to the parents’ opinion. The court will also consider other factors, including:
- Your historical relationship with your grandchild
- Your motivation in seeking visitation
- The parent’s motivation for objecting to your visitation
- How much visitation time you are requesting and how that might adversely affect the child’s customary activities
- If a parent is deceased, the benefit of maintaining the extended family relationship
A few notes on grandparent visitation
Keep in mind that you can only seek visitation through the courts while your grandchild remains a minor. Once they reach 18, the courts can no longer enforce visitation orders.
Also, you generally cannot get visitation if your grandchild has been placed for third-party adoption.
Finally, if you believe you need custody (legal decision-making authority) over your grandchildren, you can also petition to get that authority.
If your son- or daughter-in-law has decided to withhold a relationship with your grandchild, you can petition for visitation rights. Discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney.