Grandparents, step-parents, relatives and others may have rights to ” In Loco Parentis” custody or access. In these cases, if the biological parents are unfit to parent, another person who has been acting as a parent may seek custody. Otherwise, if a biological parent is not unfit, it is sometimes possible for a step-parent or other relative who has acted as a parent to establish regular visitation with a child.
In Loco Parentis is Latin for “in the place of a parent.” Arizona law recognizes that grandparents, step-parents, relatives, neighbors or other adults might sometimes need to step in to assume the custody and primary care of a child when the parents are unfit to do so.
An award of In Loco Parentis custody or visitation sometimes formalizes an arrangement that already exists. A common example is when a grandchild has lived with a grandparent for many months due to a parent being unfit or unavailable. Custody of the child may be necessary in order to seek medical treatment for the child, register a child for school or apply for the enforcement of a child support order.
If you are in a situation where you need to act as the parent for a grandchild or someone else’s child for a limited or indefinite period, you will find that a court order of In Loco Parentis custody of the child will make it possible for you to do so. Our lawyers can advise you about the details of securing this formal recognition in your case.