Yuma Grandparents’ Rights Attorney
Fighting for Important Relationships That Serve the Best Interests of Children
The bond between grandparents and grandchildren can be powerful and very
positive for both sides. Unfortunately, the death of a parent or a
divorce can disrupt that relationship, and grandparents can find themselves cut
off. Under certain circumstances, grandparents might even need to pursue
custody of their grandchildren for their own good.
If you find yourself in such a quandary, the Law Office of Phil Hineman,
P.C. can help you assert your rights under Arizona law. We provide compassionate
and effective representation for grandparents to help them preserve their
loving relationship with their grandchildren and to protect them whenever
Our grandparents’ rights lawyer in Yuma can provide legal guidance
to grandparents or other third parties in regards to matters involving
children. Call (928) 224-3230 to schedule a consultation.
Circumstances in Which Grandparents Must Assert Their Legal Rights
There are two basic situations in which grandparents can assert their right
to either custody or visitation. First, if the parents are unfit, such
as those who suffer from addiction and cannot adequately care for their
children, must have someone step in to help the children. Having a loving
family member take over parental duties is almost always preferable to
action by the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Other circumstances
can also make the grandparents a better choice for legal and physical
custody (called legal decision-making and placement).
The second situation is common after the death of a parent or the parents’
divorce. When one parent dies, the surviving parent often views the deceased’s
parents as unhappy reminders of that loss and tries to shield the children
from contact with them. But this misguided reaction actually creates a
greater sense of loss for the children. In the case of divorce, a custodial
parent’s resentment often carries over to the ex-spouse’s
parents. The custodial parent then tries to block contact between the
children and the grandparents or to alienate the children emotionally
from the grandparents.
Fortunately, Arizona law protects grandparents in both of these situations.
The law also allows other interested third parties, such as older siblings,
uncles, and aunts, to act in the best interests of children. The law puts
a father’s rights on par with a mother’s as well.
How Arizona Law Protects Grandparents & Other Third Parties
Section 25-409 of the Arizona Revised Statutes governs how grandparents
and other interested third parties can seek custody and visitation of children.
Any petition for custody (called “legal decision-making authority
or placement of the child” in the law) must satisfy these requirements:
- The petitioner “stands in loco parentis to the child” (i.e.,
is acting as a parent).
- Having either parent assume custody would be “significantly detrimental”
to the child.
- A court has not decided custody for the child in the last year (exceptions
can be made if the child’s present environment poses a serious danger).
- One of the child’s legal parents is deceased, the legal parents are
not married or proceedings for a divorce or legal separation of the parents
- A petitioner who meets these entry-level requirements must overcome the
legal presumption that a custody award to a legal parent serves the child’s