Graville v. Dodge

In Graville v. Dodge (Ariz. 1999), 985 P.2d 604, the Court found the grandparent visitation statute, under which qualifying grandparents may be awarded reasonable visitation with grandchildren against parent's wishes if the trial court determines such visitation is in the child's best interest, neither substantially interferes with nor heavily burdens parents' fundamental right to raise their children. As such, the Graville court determined the proper test to determine constitutionality was whether the statute bore some rational relationship to a legitimate state purpose. The court reasoned: "We conclude that the statute's provision for grandparent visitation does not substantially infringe on parents' fundamental rights. Other courts have noted that 'granting visitation is a far lesser intrusion, or assertion of control, than is an award of custody' and thus not nearly as invasive of parents' rights. . . Grandparent visitation is not automatic. . . The statute permits reasonable visitation only if the trial court finds visitation to be 'in the best interest of the child.' .. .The statute also requires the court to consider a number of relevant factors to focus its analysis on the best interests of the child. . . Thus, the statute is structured to enable the court to make grandparent visitation a minimal burden on the rights of the child's parents." Id., 985 P.2d at 610.