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Everything You Need To Know About Child Custody In Arizona

Divorce is one of the most devastating, life-changing things a child can face. The parents must agree on a practical plan for raising the kids for their bright future. However, most divorcees generally disagree on raising their kids after separation, and both try to get custody of the children. In such a case, the court will decide on the matter, and the decision will be based on the child’s best interest. If you’re looking for legal advice to deal with such a sensitive situation, seek aid from a divorce attorney.

Suppose you are considering divorce and seeking information about child custody. In that case, this article will provide insight on custody laws in Arizona and provide general information related to parenting time or custody. For more guidance regarding specific situations, it would be better to discuss with a divorce lawyer.

The Basics Of Custody

Custody refers to the legal rights of an individual to make decisions relating to the welfare and care of a child. Such may include the education, religious training, and medical care of the child. The parent with legal custody is often known as the custodial parent. When parents divorce, the child will stay most of the time with the custodial parent.

Parenting Time

Also known as residential or contact time, parenting time is the opportunity for a non-custodial parent to spend time with the kids. This happens in most cases when parents have a legal separation or divorce. However, custody issues may also occur between parents no longer living together or ones that never married. Most of the time, parenting problems are not solved after the finalization of the divorce. Parents will often disagree on matters regarding the child’s welfare, such as their education and the amount of parenting time a non-custodial parent should have.
Parents may agree among themselves about parenting time and custody. However, if they can’t reach an agreement, the Arizona legal system will have to be involved.

The Meaning Of Sole Custody

One parent is given sole custody, which means that they have the legal right to make significant decisions concerning the child’s welfare. Both parents may decide to co-parent, but the one designated by the court has total authority to decide even if the other parent disagrees.

Joint Custody

In joint custody, both parents have equal rights to make significant decisions about the child. In Arizona, joint custody means that both parents create a parenting plan. However, when both parents struggle to consult with each other, one parent may be granted authority to make the final decisions.

Loco parentis

This happens when a non-parent party cares for the child, petitions for child custody, or parenting time in the court of law. If the third-party guardian has a meaningful history with the child and can provide evidence to support it, then they can act as Loco parentis for the kids.
For loco parentis, you must prove one or all of the following:

  • The parents of the child are unmarried
  • One parent is deceased
  • The child’s parents are in the divorce or legal separation process

Child Custody Process In Arizona

When the parents of a child can’t agree on child custody, they may create a custody plan including visitation and parenting with the help of attorneys. They will also have to present in court why each of their parenting plans is suitable for the child.

The judge will then consider the workability of joint custody based on factors such as the distance between both parties. An Arizona family judge may order sole custody or joint custody, even when each parent object. He may also give visitation to third parties such as grandparents if they filed for a petition and play a role in the child’s care.

Also, when reviewing custody, the judge will review testimony from experts such as mental health specialists and other witnesses from the extended family.

The Process Of Getting A Custody Order

The Arizona family court may grant a custody order in some specific situations:

  • When a parent is seeking custody after a legal separation or divorce
  • When a parent is seeking to change custody decision
  • When a parent starts a paternity or maternity case

When a parent files a court case for a divorce or legal separation and can’t agree with the partner on custody matters, it becomes a matter for the court to decide. The court decisions are usually made in temporary orders hearing, and if parties can’t still reach an agreement, it goes to a final trial. Even after the divorce is final, the court still has the power to modify earlier custody orders.

How To Change Custody Orders

Either party of a divorce may request in writing for a custody order modification. This will require showing that the modification will be in the best interest of the child. This request is filed at the superior court, and a fee is charged. However, it is essential to know the limitations to custody modification. They include:

  • It can only be filed one year after the existing order was set
  • It is only applicable in certain circumstances that may endanger the child’s mental, emotional or physical health.

An order modification may also be requested if there is evidence of abuse, including spousal abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence. For such reasons, a parent will have to wait for six months before filing for a request indicating the need for custody modification.

The custody laws in Arizona offer stability and predictability that are typically beneficial to the child. If you are filing for divorce, it is better to work on a custody plan with your ex that is pure to the child’s best interest and not yours. You can consult with a divorce lawyer to help you make a plan that benefits your child. In this regard, Jensen Family Law may be of assistance. Visit their website to reach out to them:

Jensen Family Law
3740 E Southern Ave Suite 210
Mesa AZ 85206
(480) 999-2321

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Jensen Family Law in Mesa is located on 3740 E Southern Ave Suite 210, 85206 Mesa, Arizona. From Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Take S 41st St to E Sky Harbor Blvd, then Head west on E Sky Harbor Blvd and Use the left lane to take the exit toward S 41st St. Then Turn right onto S 41st St. After that, Continue straight to stay on S 41st St, then Take AZ-202 Loop E, AZ-101 Loop S and US-60 E to S Val Vista Dr in Mesa. Take exit 184 from US-60 E after that Merge onto E Sky Harbor Blvd, then Use the left 2 lanes to merge onto AZ-202 Loop E toward Tempe/Mesa and Use the right 3 lanes to take exit 9 to Merge onto AZ-101 Loop S. After that, Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 55A-B to merge onto US-60 E toward Globe, then Take exit 184 for Val Vista Dr. Then Continue on S Val Vista Dr to your destination and Turn left onto S Val Vista Dr. Turn right onto E Southern Ave, then Turn left and Destination will be on the right.

We’re open 9AM – 5PM Monday – Friday and we are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

For additional questions you can call us at (480) 999-2321 ro you can find us on Yelp.