While custody cases typically focus on how parenting time will be split between a child’s parents (among other things), these cases do not usually set up visitation rights or plans for other family members – like a child’s grandparents.
When grandparents (or others) want to pursue visitation and have court orders in place regarding their rights to spend time with a child, they will have to petition the court for such a request, and the following provides a simplified explanation of how to do so.
Filing for Grandparent Visitation: Here’s What You Need to Do
Step 1 – Complete & File the Appropriate Court Forms.
Specifically, in Arizona, the form that needs to be completed and submitted to the court will be a Petition to Establish Grandparent Visitation. Here, it’s important to point out that this form will only be applicable to your situation if:
- You are the natural or adoptive grandparent of the child.
- You are a great grandparent of a child.
- You want to get a court order regarding visitation with the child.
- The child has lived in Arizona for a minimum of six (6) months prior to filing the petition.
- The parents of the child have been divorced for a minimum of three (3) months; one parent has been dead or missing for a minimum of three (3) months; OR the child was born to unmarried parents.
Step 2 – Serve the Court Papers to the Interested Parties.
Once the appropriate form has been filed with the court (and the court fees have been paid), the next step in this process will be to have the other interested parties served with the court papers. In general, the “interested parties” will be one or both of the child’s parents. For more details on how to serve court papers to someone in Arizona, click here.
Once you have fulfilled this step, the proverbial ball will be out of your hands (in other words, you have done what you need to do to initiate the case, and you will likely have to wait for the other parties to take action).
Step 3 – Wait for a Response and Possibly a Trial Date.
After the other interested parties in the case have been served with the court papers, they usually have two options:
- File a response to the papers – Responses will usually be filed when another party disagrees with part or all of the visitation request. Should a response be filed, the filing party is required to ensure that you are served with a copy of the response after it has been submitted to the court.
- Do nothing – If no response is filed, the court can be inclined to grant the visitation as requested.
If a response is filed (i.e., there is a disagreement to the requested visitation), a trial date will have to be set to put the matter before a judge to resolve.
Step 4 – The Final Order Will Be Issued.
Finally, the matter will be put before the court for a final ruling. If the ruling grants visitation to the grandparents (or other petitioner), it should stipulate when the visitation can occur, how long the visitation will last and possibly even whether other communications (like phone calls) are permissible.
Scottsdale Family Law Attorney at the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau
Do you need help with a visitation or custody case – or with any family law issues? If so, you can rely on Scottsdale Family Law Attorney Karen Schoenau for honest answers, effective representation and the best possible outcomes to your case. Since 1987, Karen Schoenau has been committed to helping people resolve their important family law matters, including complex cases related to divorce, custody, paternity and other issues.
To receive professional advice and learn more about how we can help you, schedule an initial consultation with Attorney Karen Schoenau. You can set up this meeting by calling 480-467-3435 or by emailing us using the drop-down contact form at the top of this page.
From her offices based in Scottsdale, Attorney Karen Schoenau represents clients throughout the metropolitan Scottsdale area, including Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County, Gila County and throughout the state of Arizona.