Visitation

questions & answers

Question: My granddaughters are 13, 12, and 10. Their father is a truck driver and has called them insisting that he is coming to get them for the summer. They have told him they do not want to go with him. He said they have to. Can these girls be forced to go with him? He has no residence, he lives in his truck, eatting and bathing in truck stops. He calls only now and then, sometimes not for six to eight months depending if his current "woman trucking companion" will allow it. Right now he is between women, his last one facing jail time for Shop Lifting. The girls can not afford a lawyer. thanks

Answer: Under Arizona law (as well as the U.S. Constitution), biological parents possess the right to raise their children as they see fit - even if third parties (including grandparents) think they ought to act differently. Exceptions exist, of course, for issues such as domestic violence, child neglect, drug abuse or criminal activity, but aside from such special circumstances, that's the rule. Your question says nothing at all about the biological mother, where she fits into this plan, or whether a family court has already issued orders about summer visitation, so it's a little difficult for me to give a complete answer. However, if a judge has already laid down the rules, then obviously everyone needs to follow them. If not, then it is up to the biological parents to negotiate issues like this between themselves. Grandparents do have the right to formally petition for visitation (A.R.S. § 25-409) or custody (A.R.S. § 25-415), but they have to show that certain conditions exist before they can even be heard, so you will want to review both statutes before starting any lawsuit in superior court. One further point deserves mention. You should make *sure* that you have the facts straight about what Father intends to do with the children this summer before taking a shot at him in a court of law, especially if you want to avoid the appearance of meddling in his personal life. Judges generally don't care whom a parent chooses to date if the girlfriend in question doesn't live with the children or care for them. If Father has made arrangements to ensure a safe, exciting and enjoyable summer vacation for his daughters, you will look very foolish - very publicly - if you criticize him without investigating the facts first!

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QUESTIONS

  • My granddaughters are 13, 12, and 10. Their father is a truck driver and has called them insisting that he is coming to get them for the summer. They have told him they do not want to go with him. He said they have to. Can these girls be forced to go with him? He has no residence, he lives in his truck, eatting and bathing in truck stops. He calls only now and then, sometimes not for six to eight months depending if his current "woman trucking companion" will allow it. Right now he is between women, his last one facing jail time for Shop Lifting. The girls can not afford a lawyer. thanks

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