Under Arizona law, grandparents and other non-parents may petition a court for legal decision-making authority or visitation rights with a child.
In order to gain legal decision-making authority for a child, a grandparent or other party must overcome the presumption that it is in the best interest of a child to award legal decision-making to the parent and prove the following:
- The person filing the petition stands in loco parentis to the child.
- It would be significantly detrimental to the child to remain or be placed in the care of either legal parent who wishes to keep or acquire legal decision-making.
- A court of competent jurisdiction has not entered or approved an order concerning legal decision-making or parenting time within one year before the person filed a petition pursuant to this section, unless there is reason to believe the child’s present environment may seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.
- One of the following applies:
- One of the legal parents is deceased.
- The child’s legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.
- A proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time the petition is filed.
A.R.S. § 25-409
In order to gain visitation rights with a child, a grandparent or other party must establish one of the following:
- One of the legal parents is deceased or has been missing at least three months. For the purposes of this paragraph, a parent is considered to be missing if the parent’s location has not been determined and the parent has been reported as missing to a law enforcement agency.
- The child was born out of wedlock and the child’s legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.
- For grandparent or great-grandparent visitation, the marriage of the parents of the child has been dissolved for at least three months.
- For in loco parentis visitation, a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time the petition is filed.
A.R.S. § 25-409
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