What rights, if any, does my mother-in-law have to her grandchildren?

Question:

What rights, if any, does my mother-in-law have to her grandchildren?

My husband and I are estranged from his mom, we have had zero contact with her in 12 months. We ended the relationship due to her unpredictable behavior and the bad company she keeps (accused child-abuser ex-husband, current boyfriend in prison whom she frequently visits, etc). We have two children. She has met our oldest child a handful of times in his life but never developed a relationship with him, and she has never met our youngest. My husband and I have been married since before either of them was born. We heard through the grapevine that his mother is taking action to file for grandparent rights. She asked my father-in-law if we have lived in AZ for six months (we just moved to AZ last August). Why does she need to know if we have been here 6 months? What are her rights (if any?)

Answer:

If the parents are married, were married at the time the children were born and there is no pending divorce or custody action, grandmother is not entitled to visitation rights. Married parents have the sole right to decide what is best for their children with regards to grandparents. Here is some information to third party rights.

Good luck!

Patrick Sampair
The Sampair Group, PLLC

Offices Valley-Wide:
Arrowhead: 17235 N. 75th Avenue, Suite E-100, Glendale, AZ
City North: 5450 E High St #300, Phoenix, AZ
East Valley: 1830 S. Alma School #114, Mesa, AZ

West Valley: 623.218.1000
Phoenix: 602.997.7717
East Valley: 480.636.1333

To read more of Phoenix child custody law attorney Patrick Sampair’s answers on Avvo and be sure to check out his child custody page, or if you have a question for Mr. Sampair ask him directly at: http://www.sampair.com/