What is Third Party Visitation in Arizona?

There are a variety of visitation rights granted by Arizona family courts. One of those is third party visitation. However, you might wonder what third party visitation is and how it affects your custody arrangement.

In Arizona, a third party such as a grandparent or step-parent does have the right to file a petition to obtain legal decision-making authority or visitation of a child. The third party is not the biological parent of that child, and they may seek custody or visitation based on specific factors.

Do Courts Recognize Grandparent or Step-Parent Rights?

In most cases, the courts do not grant particular visitation to grandparents. However, under specific circumstances outlined by the statute, a grandparent could request visitation and receive it from the court if it is determined to be in the child’s best interest.

Also, one of the following situations must be present:

  • One of the legal parents is deceased.
  • The legal parents are not married at the time the petition is filed.
  • A legal separation or dissolution of marriage is pending between the legal parents.
  • For grandparent rights, the marriage of the parents must be dissolved for at least three months.

What is Best for the Child Takes Precedence

While the courts often believe that the child is best with their parents, this presumption can be overcome. A judge can order visitation with a grandparent or third party if it is determined to be in  the best interest of the child.

Naturally, the court will give legal parents the permission to share opinions on the matter. Also, the child’s historical relationship with the parents versus the in loco parentis applicant come under scrutiny. The motivation behind legal parents objecting to grandparent visitation, and the grandparent’s  motion to request visitation also play a role.

Contact Udall Shumway, PLC today to learn more about the requirements for an in loco parentis motion.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Third Party Visitation, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.