How to Set The Terms of Grandparents Visitation

How to Set The Terms of Grandparents Visitation

In Arizona, it is possible for grandparents in certain circumstances to win court-ordered permission to visit with their grandchildren. However, the court order might go no further than requiring the parents to give the grandparents “reasonable access” to the children. The precise details of such visitation often will be left to the parents and grandparents to negotiate on their own.

The first step in setting the terms of grandparent visitation is to reach an agreement on the frequency of visits and on how the visits should be scheduled. For example, will the visits be weekly, biweekly or monthly? Will the visits occur on the same day of the week, on weekends or on a rotating schedule depending on school activities and parental work obligations? Ideally, it is helpful to reach a set plan for visitation rather than leaving the schedule flexible, as this helps to set expectations for all involved, including the children.

Once the schedule is determined, parents and grandparents must work out the finer logistics. They must decide where the visitation will occur and whether there are any parameters. For example, parents may agree to visitation at the grandparents’ home but on the condition that only the grandparents are in the house at the time. Or the parents may prefer visitation to be at a neutral location such as a park or restaurant. Parents and grandparents must also decide on transportation of the children to visitation locations if the visitation is occurring outside of the parent’s home. This includes providing for whether the children will be dropped off or picked up and how to return them home after the visitation is over. Visitation agreements may also set conditions about behaviors grandparents may not engage in, such as prohibiting grandparents from participating in religious practices with the children or taking them to certain entertainment or sporting venues.

Because a visitation agreement is a product of negotiation and not an order of the court, the parties are free to include any terms they choose. But bear in mind that whatever agreement you work out must be followed. For this reason, it can be very helpful to speak with an experienced Arizona family law attorney about how to craft a feasible and manageable visitation agreement that is focused on what is best for the children involved.

At Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. in Scottsdale, we help Arizona clients negotiate workable grandparent visitation agreements. Please call our office at 602-789-3497 or contact us online for a consultation.