The term in loco parentis, Latin for “in the place of a parent” refers to the ability of a person not the biological or adopted parent of a child to be treated as a parent of the child. Generally, such individuals have formed a meaningful relationship with the child over a substantial period of time.
In Arizona, a non-parent can request physical custody by alleging that it would be significantly detrimental for either of the child’s legal parents to retain physical custody. Because parents have a constitutionally recognized right to the care, custody and management of their children, the burden on the non-parent is very high. However, a non-parent may also just request visitation with the child as opposed to physical custody. When only seeking visitation, the non-parent need only establish that visitation is in the child’s best interest.
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