CAN LEGAL DECISION-MAKING AUTHORITY OR PLACEMENT OF A CHILD BE AWARDED TO A THIRD-PARTY??
A.R.S. 25-409 (A) 1-4 are satisfied. The Court is required to summarily deny any such Petition unless the Court finds that the Petitioner’s initial pleading establishes that each of the conditions set forth in ARS 25-409 (A) are satisfied.
A.R.S. 25-409 (A)(2) requires that the Court shall summarily deny the Petition unless: “It would be significantly detrimental to the child to remain or be placed in the care of either legal parent who wishes to keep or acquire legal decision making.
”Furthermore, A.R.S. 25-409 (B) creates a rebuttable presumption that awarding legal decision-making to a legal parent serves the child’s best interests. This presumption can only be rebutted by “clear and convincing evidence” that awarding legal decision-making authority to a legal parent is not consistent with the child’s best interests.
CAN A THIRD PARTY BE AWARDED VISITATION WITH A CHILD THAT IS NOT THEIR CHILD?? With respect to Third-Party visitation, A.R.S. 25-409 (C) sets out a list of four conditions and requires that at least one of them exist.
Those conditions are as follows:1. One of the legal parents is deceased or has been missing at least three months. For the purposes of this paragraph, a parent is considered to be missing if the parent’s location has not been determined and the parent has been reported as missing to a law enforcement agency.2. The child was born out of wedlock and the child’s legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.3. For grandparent or great-grandparent visitation, the marriage of the parents of the child has been dissolved for at least three months.4. For in loco parentis visitation, a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time the petition is filed. In order for the Court to award Petitioner third-party visitation rights, Petitioner would have to prove that at least one of the four conditions set forth above.