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Third Party Visitation & Custody Lawyer in Phoenix

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Divorce and custody cases in Arizona often focus on two parties: the parents of the child. However, third parties like grandparents and stepparents can be just as devastated when they are denied access to the children they love. In certain circumstances, third parties can secure visitation and even custody—and if you are seeking these rights, the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau can help. Our Phoenix third party custody and visitation lawyer can advocate for your child’s interests and help protect your grandparent or stepparent rights.

Why Choose Us

  • Our attorney, Karen Schoenau, has over 20 years of experience representing Arizona residents in complex child custody cases—including grandparents and stepparents.
  • Our firm is dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for the child. We will place your grandchild or stepchild’s best interests at the heart of your case strategy.
  • Navigating a Phoenix third party custody or visitation claim can be complex. Our firm will be available throughout your case to answer your questions and respond to your concerns.

Grandparent Custody and Visitation Rights in Arizona

Arizona grandparents have the right to secure visitation with their grandchildren if the court believes that it would be in the child’s best interests. In addition, the case must involve one of the following criteria.

  • The child’s parents have been divorced for at least three months.
  • One of the child’s parents is deceased or has been missing for at least three months.
  • The child was born out of wedlock.

The court may grant physical custody to a grandparent if he or she acted in loco parentis, meaning that he or she was acting in a parental role for the child. The grandparent must also prove the following criteria.

  • It would be significantly harmful to the child for him or her to be placed with his or her legal parents.
  • A court has not issued a child custody order within one year, unless the child is in an environment that may put his or her physical, mental, moral, or emotional health in serious danger.
  • One of the child’s parents is deceased, the parents are not currently married, or a divorce is pending.

Can Stepparents Seek Third Party Visitation or Custody in Phoenix?

Stepparents may also secure visitation if it is in the child’s best interests. Like grandparent visitation, stepparents may receive court-ordered parenting time if one of the child’s parents is deceased or missing, the parents are married and a divorce is pending, or if the parents were never married and the child was born out of wedlock.

Courts often presume that granting custody to a child’s legal parent is in the child’s best interest, so stepparents must show convincing evidence to disprove this assumption. For a stepparent who wants custody of a stepchild, the court may grant these rights if the case meets the following criteria.

  • The stepparent acted in loco parentis.
  • It would be detrimental to the child for him or her to be in the custody of either of his or her legal parents.
  • The court has not issued an order about legal custody or parenting time for the child within one year. This criterion does not apply if the child is in danger.
  • The child’s parents are not married, a divorce is pending, or one of the parents is deceased.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Are you seeking third party custody or visitation in Phoenix? The Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal rights.

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