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5 Things You Didn’t Know & Need To Know About Child Custody In Arizona

When parents separate or divorce, the children’s needs must be met. If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court will impose one or make decisions about the children’s health and welfare. Choosing how much time the child will spend with each parent and who will be the primary caregiver is often part of this process. Unmarried parents, relatives, or others may petition the court for custody or parenting time in some cases. The court’s decision is based on the child’s best interests in each case.

What is custody?

Custody is the right of a parent to make decisions about their children. The court’s decision in making custody arrangements may be based on which parenting time arrangement will best serve the child’s needs, including how much contact and involvement each parent has with the other parents in their lives. In some cases, one person can have sole legal or physical custody while allowing another person visitation rights or access. Joint legal or joint physical custody involves both people sharing responsibility for major decisions.

What are “parenting time” arrangements?

Parenting time (also known as “access,” “contact,” “residential time,” or “visitation”) is a legal term that refers to a child’s ability to spend time with a parent who does not have sole legal custody. The “non-custodial parent” is a term used to describe this parent.

When parents seek a dissolution of their marriage (divorce) or a legal separation, custody and parenting time issues frequently arise. Custody issues can, however, arise between parents who have never married or who no longer live together. Custody and parenting time issues persist after the divorce is finalized. Parents may disagree about who makes decisions in these situations.

Who makes the decisions about child custody and parenting time?

Custody and parenting time decisions are made by a judge in what is called family court. Judges consider many factors, including the child’s best interests, to decide which custody arrangement will serve each individual case best.

Parents may agree on custody or parenting time between themselves; however, if the parents cannot agree and the Arizona legal system becomes involved (for example, when a parent seeks a divorce), only the Superior Court has the authority to decide these issues.

When is it permissible for a parent with custody of a child to relocate from Arizona with the child?

If both parents live in Arizona, the parent with physical custody must give the other parent 60 days’ notice before moving the child more than 100 miles away from the other parent or out of the state. The 60-day period gives the non-moving parent enough time to request a hearing to stop the move.

What is the procedure for getting a custody order

Parents must file a petition with the family law division of Superior Court. If there is no agreement, they may be required to appear before a judge who will make a ruling on custody and parenting time issues. The parent without physical or legal custody can request mediation services through local organizations such as Arizona Parents in Common (AZPC). Mediation allows both parents to get together to talk about their child’s needs and come up with an arrangement that works for them both.

The process for deciding what happens after divorce is complicated but necessary because children need stability and consistency during this difficult transition period in their lives.

When parents separate or divorce, the children’s needs must be met. If the parents cannot agree on a custody or parenting time arrangement, the court can make a decision based on what they believe is in the best interests of that child.

If you and your spouse cannot agree about custody arrangements for your children—who will care for them and how much contact each parent has with their other parents–you should consult an attorney who handles family law matters (such as divorce) to find out what Arizona laws say about these issues.

Are You Looking for a Family Law Attorney You Can Trust?

The decision of child custody is one that needs to be made with careful consideration. One might think it’s a simple matter, but there are many responsibilities and decisions involved in the process. The courts will want to know who has cared for your children most often; how much time you spend together as parents each week; if either parent abuses drugs or alcohol excessively (or have done so in the past); where would your kids live best – near their other family members? The attorneys at GillespieShields are well-versed in a variety of different legal fields, ranging from family law to civil suits, employment disputes and probate cases. Although we specialize in several areas of practice, our greatest passion is family law. Whether you’re filing for dissolution or divorce, determining custody of your children, or thinking about adopting children, our experienced attorneys are here to help you every step of the way.  During our private, one-on-one consultation, we’ll take the necessary time to answer all of your questions surrounding Arizona’s family laws, your family’s unique situation, and the possible court outcomes. Contact us today for your consultation!

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