Arizona Arizona

Child Visitation Laws

Visitation General Information

What is child visitation?

In the context of a child custody case, visitation is defined as the rights for a non-custodial parent to see their child, or as temporary custody that's been granted for a period of time to an otherwise non-custodial parent or relative.

In general, courts in Arizona assume that it is beneficial for both biological parents of a child to have shared custody or visitation, unless it is shown to be against the child's best interests. A biological parent who is denied custody may be awarded visitation rights to provide for a relationship between the parent and child.

Visitation by grandparents, family members, or other third-parties is less clear cut in Arizona, and nationwide. While there are state guidelines regarding third-party visitation in certain situations, these laws are frequently challenged.

Above all else, courts in Arizona strive to make custody and visitation decisions that are "in the best interests of the child". The court handling each individual visitation case has significant flexibility in determining what arrangement is in the child's best interests. You can read about Arizona's visitation guildelines on this page.

Arizona Child Visitation Summary

How Does Visitation Work?

In the state of Arizona, anyone other than the legal parent can petition a superior court for the authority granted to make decisions on behalf of a child. This petition will be denied if the court determines any of the following factors to be true:

  • Loco parentis standing

  • Significantly detrimental effects to the child should he or she stay under the care of legal parents

  • A court has not approved an order regarding the decision making or parenting time within a year

  • One parent is deceased

  • The parents are not married

  • A proceeding for the dissolution of the child’s parents has been filed

It can be fairly assumed that granting the legal decision-making ability to a parent is in the best interest of the child due to psychological, physical, and emotional needs. Third parties can take over this responsibility with direct proof that it would be better for the child as opposed to their actual parents. If this occurs, the third party will need to prove that the child’s parents are deceased or missing, the child was born out of wedlock, or, in the case of grandparents, that the marriage has been dissolved for at least three months. Notice of this petition must be given to the child’s parents, a third party in legal possession of decision-making, or anyone claiming physical custody of the child.

When deciding visitation rights, courts give special consideration the historical relationship and motivations of the potential visiting party. Objections to visitation, the amount of visitation time, and the benefits of an extended relationship are also considered by the courts upon deciding what serves the best interests of the child.

Arizona Child Visitation For Grandparents, Relatives, and Third Parties

In the state of Arizona, there are a number of laws regarding child visitation regarding visitation for third-parties other than the biological parents of the child. While state laws regarding third-party visitation have been frequently been challenged in courts, they are a good indication of Arizona's positions regarding non-parental visitation rights.

Visitation Rights Of Grandparents In Arizona:

Arizona has special statutes regarding the child visitiation rights of grandparents under different circumstances. Under state law, the grandparents of children may obtain visitation while the parents are alive, regardless of the parent's marital status.

Grandparents, Visitation In General


Grandparents, After Death Of Parent


Grandparents, After Divorce Of Parent


Grandparents, Parent Never Married


Regardless of state presumptions regarding grandparent's visitation rights under specific circumstances, an Arizona court may allow or prevent visitation rights in any situation based on the best interests of the child.

Visitation Rights Of Other Parties In Arizona:

Are step-parents granted visitation rights in the state of Arizona?

Generally it is an uphill battle for step-parents seeking visitation rights for a step-child, especially if the biological parents of the child are alive and are opposed to the visitation.

Under Arizona law, legal provisions do exist to grant child visitation rights to step-parents under certain circumstances, so visitation can be readily applied for. In all cases, third-party visitation rights are more likely to be granted by the court if they are deemed to be in the best interests of the child.

Can other interested parties or relatives be granted visitation rights to a child in Arizona?

Under state of Arizona law, it is not generally possible for any other interested party other than those specified to be granted child visitation rights. In rare cases this may be overruled by the court.

Can parents be granted visitation rights after termination of parental rights or adoption in Arizona?

In the state of Arizona it may not be possible to be granted visitation rights after losing parental rights or giving up a child for adoption. This is the case with both biological parents and previous guardians.

| State Law Official Text

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