Reasonable Visitation Rights in Arizona

By Jessica McElrath

A non-custodial parent or a grandparent may petition for reasonable-visitation rights. Visitation rights give a non-custodial parent or grandparent the right to spend time with a child. Custody refers to the right of a parent to have physical or legal custody of a child. Physical custody is the right to decide where the child will live; legal custody is the right to make decisions about the child's life. An Arizona court may order reasonable-visitation rights when the parent or grandparent is not a danger to the child.

Parenting Time

A court may grant the non-custodial parent "reasonable parenting time rights" or visitation rights. Arizona statute defines "parenting time" as the right and responsibility of the parent, when caring for the child, to make decisions regarding the child's daily care that are consistent with the decisions made by the parent with legal custody.

The purpose of reasonable-visitation rights is to ensure that the child has frequent and continuing contact with the non-custodial parent. The court will not order reasonable parental visitation if it determines -- after holding a hearing -- that the non-custodial parent will have a negative impact on the child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health.

Relocation

When a parent has visitation rights, the non-custodial parent can petition the court if the custodial parent decides to move far away with the child. If both parents live in the same state, the custodial parent must give the non-custodial parent at least 60 days' notice if he or she plans to move out of state with the child or more than 100 miles within the state. If the non-moving parent objects, the parent must petition the court within 30 days after receiving notice. The court will decide whether to allow the relocation by considering what is in the child's best interest.

Grandparent Visitation

If a court determines it's in the child's best interest, the court may grant visitation rights to a grandparent in certain circumstances. The court will consider the historical relationship between the child and the grandparent, the reason the grandparent is requesting visitation, the reason the parent is denying visitation and any adverse impact that could result from granting visitation. A court will grant visitation rights to a grandparent if: the parents of the child have been divorced for at least three months; the child was born out of wedlock; or one parent has been deceased or missing for at least three months.

Enforcement

If a parent refuses to comply with a visitation order without showing cause, the court will penalize the violating parent. Possible punishments include finding the parent in contempt of court, ordering makeup visitation time, ordering the parent to attend a parent-education class, ordering family counseling or ordering civil penalties no greater than $100 per violation.

About the Author

Jessica McElrath has been a freelance writer since 2000. McElrath is the author of "The Everything John F. Kennedy Book" and "The Everything Martin Luther King Jr. Book." McElrath has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of California at Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law.

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