As many residents of Arizona will know, families can be complicated, especially when they don’t get along. Where children are concerned, the matter can be even more involved, as non-custodial parents and grandparents may still want access to the children even if they are in conflict with the other adults involved. Grandparent visitation differs from parental visitation as grandparents generally have fewer rights than parents.
In North Dakota, the Supreme Court has recently overturned a ruling which had given extensive visitation rights to the grandparents of three children. The couple had sued their son and his partner after unsuccessful attempts at mediation in 2012. The children’s parents felt that their parenting methods had been undermined by the grandparents, so they began withholding visitation.
The judge in the original suit awarded the grandparents visitation rights which included holidays and birthdays, as well as the ability to see the eldest child whenever that child chose. In the more recent ruling, it was claimed that these rights were too close to those of a non-custodial parent. It was also suggested that the court failed to get the grandparents to prove why they should be part of the child’s life. Instead, they put the burden of proof upon the parents.
Although this happened in another state, it could just as easily have befallen a family in Arizona. If you are seeking access to your grandchildren, it can be a challenging matter to tackle alone. You may be required to prove to the court why you should be present in your grandchild’s life. An attorney with knowledge of state legislation may be able to help you understand your rights and prepare your case.
Jamestown Sun, “N.D. Supreme Court overturns grandparent visitation ruling,” Emily Welker, May 1, 2014