If your child is withholding your access to your grandchild/children in Arizona, your first step should be to try resolve the matter amicably. Mediation is a way to resolve family disputes without resorting to Court or other acrimonious means. Mediation is a process where people in dispute resolve their issues through cooperation and compromise. The mediator (a neutral person who is trained in conflict resolution) directs the process. The parties either sit in the same room (with the mediator) or in two separate rooms if emotion precludes the possibility of sitting together. The mediator will help the parties examine the issue from different points of view, brainstorm options and recognize the reasonableness of their respective requests. At the end of the mediation, if the parties would like, the mediator can draft the agreement up in a binding form. Mediation serves to preserve relationships and puts the interests of the children first. Conflict is expensive, stressful and only serves to tear families further apart.
If mediation is not an option, grandparents who want to obtain access with their grandchildren can sometimes seek “reasonable visitation” through the Superior Court. To be able to file a Petition for Grandparents’ rights, one of the following has to be true:
a. The parents have been divorced for at least three months;
b. A parent is deceased or missing for at least three months; or
c. The child was born out of wedlock.
The visitation also has to be in the children’s best interests. The Court determines whether the visitation is in the children’s best interests by look at such issues as: the grandparent-grandchildren relationship, the reason for the parents’ denial and the grandparents’ request, the impact the access will have on the children’s family and, where a parent is deceased, the benefit of maintaining the children’s relationship with the deceased parents’ family.
Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator and attorney in Arizona. If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or email@example.com. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.
Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260