Phoenix Non-Parents Rights Attorney
Learn About Step-parent Rights in Arizona from a Skilled Child Custody Lawyer
A step-parent, relative or other third-party may petition for rights and seek legal-decision making authority or placement [custody of a child] if they have established a substantial and continuing relationship with a child.
This process is governed by an intricate statute that must be followed. For legal decision-making and/or custody, there is a rebuttable presumption in favor of the child’s legal parent. The court will presume that awarding legal decision-making to a legal parent serves the child’s best interests because of the physical, psychological and emotional needs of the child to be reared by a legal parent.
To rebut the strong presumption, a non-parent must show by clear and convincing evidence that awarding legal decision-making to a legal parent is not consistent with the child’s best interests.
In order to for a non-parent to assert their legal rights, they must establish from the onset that they stand “in loco parentis” to the child. This phrase means that they not only have a close relationship with the child, but they have stood in the position of a parent.
The petitioner must establish that it would be 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.
The situation must be one in which the child’s legal parents are not married to each other or one is deceased or a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending. Unless the child’s present environment may seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health, there is also a limit to how often such actions may be brought.
A non-parent, including a grandparent, may also petition the superior court for visitation with a child, without requesting legal-decision making or custody. The superior court may grant visitation rights during the child’s minority on a finding that the visitation is in the child’s best interests and that either one of the legal parents is deceased or has been missing at least three months; or the child was born out of wedlock and the child’s legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed; or a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time the petition is filed.
Contact a Phoenix Non-Parents Rights Attorney About Arizona Custody
For more information regarding representation, legal decision making, custody or step-parent rights, or how we can help you with any estate planning or family law issue call 602-453-4200 or contact Heller Law Office online to schedule a consultation with an experienced child custody lawyer. Our office is conveniently at the crossroads of Phoenix and Scottsdale on Tatum Boulevard between Shea and Cactus.