Grandparents play a vital role in their grandchildren’s lives. In fact, grandparents often pinch-hit in the ongoing care and comfort of their grandchildren. In Arizona, however, grandparents have limited rights when it comes to adopting or obtaining legal visitation or custody of their grandchildren.
If you’re seriously concerned about your grandchildren’s welfare or safety, consult with an experienced Arizona adoption attorney today. The matter of your grandchildren’s well-being is too serious not to take immediate action.
Grandparents’ Rights in Arizona Adoptions
In Arizona, grandparents will typically first seek temporary custody of their grandchildren. If another party adopts your grandchildren in the meantime, however, your rights may be permanently terminated.
Under Arizona law, once children are placed for adoption (except for step-parent adoption) – all rights to visitation are terminated. In fact, you – as grandparents with the current right to visitation – may not even be notified that your grandchildren are involved in a pending adoption.
Arizona Requirements for Grandparent Adoptions
To adopt your grandchildren, you must meet specific legal requirements.
The first step is usually for you to seek temporary custody of your grandchildren, which may be allowed if you can demonstrate that your grandchildren’s well-being is deterred by remaining in parental custody and that you – as grandparents – provide much of their care.
In order to obtain legal or physical custody of your grandchildren you must also be able to prove that one of several additional conditions applies:
- Your grandchildren’s parents were never married;
- Your grandchildren’s parents are currently divorcing or separating; or
- One of your grandchildren’s parents is deceased.
Ultimately, the Arizona court will predicate its decision on what’s in the best interests of your grandchildren. Because parents are presumed to be their children’s best caretakers, grandparents hoping to adopt must be able to succinctly prove that their grandchildren’s well-being will be jeopardized if they remain in parental custody.
Being able to adopt your grandchildren will also entail you terminating the parental rights of both the Mother and the Father. Again, this can be a complicated and lengthy process.
In the Shoes of the Parents
Arizona law ultimately provides that grandparents who have stood in the shoes of the children’s parents may be entitled to obtain custody of their grandchildren (when the situation warrants such action).
This legal concept is known as in loco parentis, and it means that an individual has acted as a child’s parent, been treated – by the child – like the child’s parent, and has formed a meaningful parental relationship – for a significant amount of time – with the child.
When you walk in the shoes of your grandchildren’s parents, you act as their parents and you demonstrate your ability to do so effectively.
Obtaining Custody of Your Grandchildren
To obtain custody of your grandchildren, several pivotal elements must be determined to be true:
- You must stand in loco parentis of the children (as described above).
- It would be significantly detrimental for the children to remain in custody of (or to be placed in custody of) either of their living parents who wish to obtain custody of them.
- During the year prior to filing your custody petition, the court neither entered nor approved an order regarding your grandchildren’s custody – unless the court has reason to believe that the children’s present living environment could seriously endanger their physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.
Arizona grandparent adoptions are often fraught with legal complications, but if you believe that your grandchildren’s well-being is in jeopardy, act now.
What’s Best for the Grandkids
If you’re grandparents who are interested in pursuing your right to either adopt or get legal and physical custody of your grandchildren, you’re probably familiar with just how complicated and tenuous this legal process can be.
If you believe your grandchildren’s health, safety, or well-being are at risk, do not hesitate to immediately contact an experienced Arizona adoption attorney. While your rights as grandparents are limited, it’s never too early to involve yourselves in the legal process of adopting vulnerable grandchildren.
If Committed to Adopting Your Grandchildren, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today
Adoption is a beautiful choice, and adopting your own grandchildren is the most natural choice of all.
While such adoptions aren’t without their challenges, an experienced Arizona adoption attorney can help you navigate toward your goal of permanently and legally welcoming your grandchildren into your loving home.
At Stuart & Blackwell, we understand just how effortless and how difficult grandparent adoptions can be. Nevertheless, we also appreciate how significant your commitment to your grandchildren’s healthy and happy upbringing is.
At Stuart & Blackwell, adoption law is our specialty and we’re here to help you with one of life’s most rewarding journeys – grandparent adoption. Please contact us or call our office at (480) 420 2900 today for your free consultation.