Glendale Grandparent Rights Attorney
You have a special bond with your grandchild and don’t want to lose it – even if it means going to court against your child. But the laws in Arizona that govern grandparents’ rights are no walk in the park. Sometimes, when the parents fight over custody and visitation rights, they ignore the grandparents who want to be part of their grandchildren’s lives.
The good news is that Arizona has laws to protect your rights as a grandparent to visit and, in some cases, share custody of your grandkids. At the Law Offices of Cosmas Onyia, our lawyer team has almost three decades of experience and a track record of success in grandparents’ rights cases, ensuring Glendale families continue offering their children a stable and loving environment. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about your case.
What are My Rights as a Grandparent in Glendale, AZ?
In Glendale and across Arizona, you don’t automatically have a legal right to visit your grandchild or great-grandchild just because you are related to them. Sometimes, you may face resistance from the parents if one of them is not your child, has passed away, or is in jail.
But the courts can give you the right to visitation if they think seeing you is good for your grandchild – however, that alone won’t be enough. As per the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) § 25-409, you will also need to prove that one of the following factors is true:
- The parents of the child are getting divorced or separated
- The parents divorced more than three months ago
- The child was born when the parents were not married, and they never got married
- One of the parents has died
- One of the parents has been missing for at least three months, and the police know about it
Grandparent Visitation: How the Court Makes Its Choice
The courts in Glendale usually trust that the parents, as a couple, can decide what is best for their child unless the grandparents can prove otherwise. The judge will look at the following factors to decide if the grandparent or great-grandparent should get visitation:
- How close you and the child were before you filed the petition
- Why do you want visitation
- Why the parents don’t want you to visit
- How much time you are asking for, and how it would affect the child’s routine
- If one of the child’s parents has died, how important it is for the child to stay connected with the extended family
What Does Loco Parentis Mean?
Loco parentis is a legal term that means “in the place of a parent” or “like a parent.” It refers to a situation where someone other than a legal parent takes care of a child and acts as a parent. It can work in two ways:
- A grandparent can ask the court to let them make decisions for the child or live with the child if they can prove that it would be bad for the child to stay with either biological or adoptive parent and that one of the legal parents has died, the parents are not married, or the parents are divorcing or separating.
- A grandparent can ask the court to let them visit the child if they can prove that it is in the child’s best interest and that the legal parents are divorcing or separating.
To stand in loco parentis to a child, you must have taken care of that child full-time because the legal parent could not. You must also have a close and strong bond with the child that is similar to a parent-child relationship to have a grandparents rights.
How Do I Seek My Rights as a Grandparent in Glendale?
To file for grandparent’s rights in Glendale or anywhere in Maricopa County, AZ, follow these steps, preferably with guidance from a grandparents rights attorney:
- Fill out the required forms, including the Family Department/Sensitive Data Cover Sheet, the Summons, the Petition for Grandparent Visitation, and the Order to Appear.
- File the original and two copies of the forms with the Clerk of the Superior Court and pay the filing fee. You will get a case number and a judge assigned to your case.
- Serve the child’s parent or legal guardian with a copy of the forms and a blank Response form. You will also need to file proof of service with the court.
- Wait for the other party to file a Response. If they don’t do so within 20 days (or 30 days if they live out of state), you can ask the court for a default judgment.
- If the other party files a Response, you must attend a hearing or a mediation session to resolve the issue. The court will notify you of the date and time of the hearing or mediation.
- At that hearing or mediation, you will need to present evidence to support your request and show that your request meets the legal criteria for grandparent visitation in Arizona, which are:
a) The child’s parents are divorced, deceased, or missing for at least three months, or the child was born out of wedlock, and the parents are not married.
b) The visitation is in the best interest of the child, considering factors such as your relationship with the child, your motivation for seeking visitation, the parent’s motivation for denying visitation, the impact of visitation on the child’s schedule, and the benefit of maintaining an extended family relationship.
- The judge will decide based on the evidence and arguments presented by both parties. Then they will issue an order granting or denying your grandparent visitation and specifying the terms of visitation if granted.
As you can see, grandparent visitation rights are not easy to obtain, as they require filling out many forms, submitting various documents, and presenting convincing evidence. To increase your chances of success, you should seek the help of a tenacious grandparents rights attorney like Cosmas Onyia.
Rights of Grandparents for Children Taken Out of Arizona
If a child is removed from Arizona or from the country without the consent of the grandparents who have legal rights, it will obviously affect the exercise of those rights. The specific impact will depend on the laws of the state or country where the child is taken and any international agreements.
You may need to take legal action to preserve your rights and seek the return of your grandchild. This will mean filing a petition with the court to enforce your visitation or custody rights, and possibly engaging in legal proceedings where the child is located. A qualified family law attorney in Glendale can make a world of difference here in protecting your interests and obtaining a favorable outcome.
Reclaim Your Grandparents Rights with Cosmas Onyia, P.C.
Grandparents rights cases are among the toughest family law cases because, as a grandparent, it falls on you to meet the burden of proof and convince the court that granting you custody or visitation is in the child’s best interest.
Grandparents rights attorney Cosmas Onyia has nearly 30 years of experience handling these cases in Glendale and surrounding areas in Maricopa County. He knows precisely what kind of evidence will move the needle in your favor and how to engage with the local judges and clerks to benefit you. He and his legal team will be there for you during the process, be it filing paperwork or fighting in court.
Contact us online or call our experienced grandparents rights attorney team at 602-265-5200 today for a confidential consultation and let our lawyer help you reunite with your grandson or granddaughter.