Step-Parents Rights

Scottsdale Child Custody Lawyer: Step-Parents Rights

Arizona family law attorney; for Cave Creek, the Northeast Valley & all AZ

Throughout Arizona—and across the nation—step-parents play an important role in children’s lives. But right now, somewhere in the valley, a step-parent and biological parent are divorcing. Perhaps you are going through such a divorce in Scottsdale. Maybe you are a step-parent having a child custody struggle in Fountain Hills. Wherever you are in the Northeast Valley, the Belt Law Firm is ready to help. Contact us for legal advice in a child custody dispute that involves step-children.

Historically, Arizona’s step-parent had no legal right to ask a court for visitation rights with the children. This has changed in recent years. Several years ago, the Arizona Legislature enacted a new statute called the In Loco Parentis statute. This new statute gave Arizona step-parents (and others) who played a significant parental role the ability to petition the court for a schedule of visitation with the child. In fact, in situations where both biological parents are unable to effectively discharge their parental responsibilities, the step-parent may be awarded actual custody of the child. This could either be because the biological parent is unfit, such as in cases of drug addiction, or because the biological parent is unavailable, such as in cases of an overseas military deployment. There are many legal options for step-parents to assert their visitation and child custody rights. Call 480-837-3600 to discuss your rights with Scottsdale child custody lawyer John C. Belt.

How are step-parents’ rights determined in Arizona?

The court is required to consider the best interest of the child when deciding a step-parent visitation or custody case. The step-parent will need to be able to successfully prove that he or she has a substantial parental role in the child’s life and that it is in the child’s best interest to continue that relationship in the future. Unfortunately for step-parents, the court is required to give special weight to the biological parent’s wishes. This makes this area of law incredibly complex and challenging for a step-parent.

If you need advice about your step-parent’s visitation or custodial rights, contact knowledgeable Arizona family law attorney, John Belt at the Belt Law Firm in Scottsdale.