A court may award visitation rights if the child's parents' marriage has been dissolved for at least three months, or the child is born out of wedlock.
However, if a the parents of a child born out of wedlock marry, the family is then considered an intact family and is subsequently exempt from these types of suits.
The court must also balance visitation with the parents' rights.
When dealing with these types of cases, Arizona courts consider the following factors when determining the best interest of the child: a historical relationship between the grandparent and child, the motivation of the person who filed the suit, the motivation of the person denying visitation, the quantity of time requested and the effect that time will have on the child’s daily activities, and, in the case of death, the benefits of maintaining a relationship with the extended family.
Adoption cuts off the visitation rights of the grandparents unless the adoption is granted to a stepparent.
If the grandparents has “regular and frequent” contact with a child for at least 12 months and has a “strong and meaningful” relationship with their grandchild, they can also sue for visitation.
In order to win visitation rights, grandparents must show that visitation is in fact in the best interest of the child, with “clear and convincing evidence.” Alaska offers two routes to grandparent separation; asking to join a custody case or or suing for visitation on your own.
If a child lived with a grandparent for six months or more, if a grandparent was the primary caregiver for six months or more or if the grandparent had frequent or regular contact with the child for 12 months or more, then a grandparent’s relationship with a child can be considered “significant and viable.
Furthermore, the grandparent must demonstrate “love, affection and guidance” for the child, that a lack of visitation would prove harmful to a child and a willingness to cooperate with the parent or guardian who has custody in order to show that visitation is in the best interest of the child.
As a service to our readers, has established the American Grandparents Association TM , dedicated to ensuring the best for grandparents and their families.
One goal of the Association is to become a key resource for grandparents who are physically removed from their grandchildren and would like to find a way to visit them.
Determination of grandparent visitation rights must be made in an action for divorce, legal separation, or child placement action, or when both parents have died.
In order to grant visitation, grandparents must present the court with clear and convincing evidence showing that visitation with the grandparents is in the child’s best interest, the grandparent has had ongoing contact or has tried to have ongoing contact with the child, and that the parents limiting the grandparent’s visitation is harmful to the child.
Every statute requires courts to consider the best interests of the child before awarding custody or visitation to grandparents.