Child visitation, taken in the context of child custody cases, refers to the rights of the non-custodial parent to see the minor child. It may also mean temporary custody given to the other parent or a relative for a period of time.
Generally, the family court operates on the presumption that it is best for both legal parents to share physical custody of the child or for the noncustodial parent to be allowed a regular visitation schedule unless there is evidence that it could be against the best interests of the child. The legal parent who has been denied child custody may be granted visitation rights to allow parent and child to bond. Family law recognizes the importance of parent-child relationship and provides avenues for it as long as it is in the child’s best interest.
Arizona family laws aren’t as clear cut on visitation by a grandparent, another family member, or some other third party. There are guidelines for third party visitation in relation to specific situations, but these are often challenged. Generally, any custody and visitation court order are carried out on the principle that it is in the best interests of the child.
Family court services give special consideration to the historical association of the third party with the minor children involved and the motivation for the desire for visitation rights. The court may award rights and determine the amount of visitation time allowed after taking into account the benefits of the relationship forged through it as well as objections to the request if any. All decisions must serve the best interest of the child.
What does Arizona state law say about grandparents’ visitation rights in relation to their grandchild? There are statutes regarding grandparents’ visitation rights in special circumstances. Generally, grandparent visitation rights are granted while the parents are living, no matter their marital status. These legal rights typically apply even after the death of a parent, after divorce or the dissolution of the parents’ marriage, or if the parents are unmarried.
Other Parties’ Rights
What other parties besides parents and grandparents could be a petitioner for visitation rights? Such interest is typically accompanied by special circumstances. Step-parents, relatives, and temporary guardians who may have been a caretaker of the child may feel that they need or deserve visitation rights. It could be an uphill battle, but there are legal provisions that do allow child visitation rights for step-parents in certain situations. Other parties are typically not granted visitation rights, but the court system may overrule this norm as long as circumstances show that granting the rights would be in the best interests of the child.
Termination of Parental Rights
What about when parents’ rights have been terminated in case of adoption or some other reason? The Arizona family code does not allow visitation rights to biological parents who have already lost their parental rights and responsibilities for any possible reason, including adoption. Neither does a previous legal guardian of a child who has been adopted to get visitation rights.
Contact a Family Law Attorney in Mesa, Arizona
It is a sad fact that family law has provisions for very unfortunate circumstances. It may vary from state to state, but they always address issues that arise in a family. Custody of a child is often a contentious matter. Many a child custody case has ended up in an abduction.
If you need legal aid in obtaining visitation rights or in addressing other related matters such as legal custody, child support, fathers’ rights, guardianship or conservatorship, legal separation, annulment, alimony, etc., talk to your family lawyer.
A family law attorney can give you legal assistance so that you go through the process without committing regrettable missteps. When faced with legal family problems, call us at Zolman Law and talk to one of our family law attorneys,