Petition for 3rd Party Rights/Grandparents’ Rights
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Often due to unfortunate circumstances, a 3rd party may need to seek court intervention to establish legal decision-making (custody), placement, and/or visitation over a minor child that is not biologically their own child. This 3rd party is often a relative of one of the biological parents (often a grandparent), a close family friend, or an ex-stepparent of the minor child(ren). In nearly all 3rd party cases, this petitioning party will have had exercised a close, loving, and bonded relationship with the minor child or children in question. Typically, the need for a Petition for 3rd Party Rights/Grandparents’ Rights occurs because one or both biological parents refuse to allow the 3rd party the right to see the minor child(ren) despite having a close and bonded relationship with the child(ren). Because courts will always try to protect the best interests of minor child(ren), they understand that the more close, bonded, and loving relationships a child has, the better.
A person may seek to establish legal decision-making (custody), placement, and/or visitation over a minor child. However, because of the rights involved, securing the right to make legal decisions or requesting placement of a minor child over that child’s biological parents is a much tougher burden to meet than it is to seek visitation only. In a case seeking legal decision-making or placement, the 3rd party would have to show that it “is 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.” For this reason, the vast majority of 3rd Party Rights/Grandparents’ Rights cases seek visitation solely.
A Petition for 3rd Party Rights/Grandparents’ Rights is governed by Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-409. To see this statute in its complete form, click here.