Phoenix Visitation Attorney

Laws regarding visitation rights vary greatly from state to state, and in Arizona, they can be particularly complex. Arizona has extra provisions that give ceratin family members extra rights when it comes to visitation, but earning these rights requires the skill of an experienced Phoenix visitation lawyer. In general, here is how visitation law in Arizona works:

Visitation for the Non-custodial Parent

In general, the courts prefer to grant joint custody for parents in divorce proceedings. However, there are some instances where one person will retain sole custody. Even if you are the non-custodial parent, you are entitled to visitation rights under the law, whether they are supervised or unsupervised. When determining the extent of your visitation rights, the courts will consider:

  • If you are fit to spend time with the child
  • If you want to continue your relationship with the child
  • If you can follow a visitation plan
  • If visitation with you is in the best interest of the child
  • If the child will benefit from a relationship with you
  • If the child can engage in open communication with you

The law acknowledges that children typically benefit from a relationship with both parents, so courts try to make visitation work, excluding circumstances such as an imminent threat to the safety of the child. However, in the state of Arizona, it is lawful for the custodial parent to withhold visitation rights if child support payments are not paid on time. Barring visitation, by contrast, is not a lawful reason for you to stop child support payments.


Unlike other states, Arizona has extra measures in place that allow grandparents to have visitation rights despite the objections of one or both guardians. However, to successfully achieve this, grandparents need to provide clear evidence that their visitation rights are in the best interest of the child. Additionally, to overrule the objections of a parent, one of the following criteria must be met:

  • The grandparent seeking visitation is the parent of the child’s non-custodial parent, and the divorce has been finalized for at least three months.
  • The grandparent is a parent of a non-custodial parent who has been deceased or missing for at least three months.
  • The parents of the child were never married.

In determining the extent of the grandparents’ interest in the child, the courts will consider many factors, including:

  • The history of the relationship
  • The motivation of the grandparent(s)
  • The motivation in the parents denying visitation
  • The impact of visitation on the child’s life and daily activities

Please visit our Phoenix grandparent custody page for more detailed information.


Using the same criteria, aunts/uncles, siblings, stepparents and other third parties are eligible to petition the courts for visitation rights. However, in many cases, extended family are free to visit while the child is in a parent’s custody. Specific visitation rights are reserved specifically for when one or both parents are barring access to a child.

Hiring a Phoenix, Arizona Visitation Attorney

Procuring visitation rights as a grandparent or third party can be a challenge, especially with the complexities of Arizona law. To secure your rights to see the loved child in your life, you will need a competent and compassionate legal team on your side to help you gather evidence and speak to the courts.

At the Law firm of Gillespie, Shields, Durrant & Goldfarb, we have been helping clients win visitation rights over parental objection since 1985. We understand the difficulty of not being able to visit a child you care for. If you are unsure of how to proceed, call our office for an initial consultation. We will review the facts of your case and help you decide whether to pursue a petition.