Scottsdale Family Law Attorneys
Facing a Custody Issue? Find Out How Our Attorneys Can Help
If you need to establish your rights as a parent or get formal orders regarding legal decision-making and parenting time in place, our experienced family law attorneys can help. No matter what the details of your specific situation may be, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a confidential, no-pressure consultation.
Child Custody in Arizona
In 2013, the Arizona legislature removed the term “child custody” and replaced that with the term “legal decision making.” Legal decision-making is the right to make significant non-emergency decisions for the child, including decisions about education, health care, religious training and personal care decisions. It does not include the routine decisions each parent will need to make while the child is in their care, such as what the child will eat for meals, what television shows the child will watch or what clothing the child will wear to school.
There are two options when determining legal decision-making. The first is “joint legal decision-making,” which means that both parents must work together to make major decisions for the child/children. Arizona tends to favor joint legal decision-making.
The second is “sole legal decision-making,” which means that one parent is granted the authority to make decisions for the benefit of the minor child/children. Sole legal decision-making does not mean that the parent not granted decision-making authority loses all parental rights, they are still entitled to parenting time. Courts are hesitant to grant one parent sole legal decision-making authority unless doing so would be contrary to the best interest of the child. Often times sole legal decision-making is awarded to one parent when the other parent has been convicted of a drug or alcohol offense within the last twelve months or when the Court finds that significant domestic violence has occurred.
The term “visitation” is no longer used in Arizona and has been replaced with “parenting time.” Parenting time determines the schedule for when the child/children see each parent. A court ordered parenting plan with a parenting time schedule benefits all parties, including the child, as it provides a defined and predictable arrangement that delineates the terms of access that both parents must abide by and upon which the child/children learn to depend on. Arizona tends to favor an equal parenting time plan, unless there are concerns of parenting fitness.
Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Family Law Lawyer Today
We are here to answer your questions, discuss your options, help you understand your rights.
8980 E. Raintree Dr., Ste. 110
Scottsdale, AZ 85260