See also: Child Custody Modification
In family law and divorce, there are very few issues that have the emotional impact of child custody. Arizona law presumes that a child will benefit the most from significant and ongoing contact with both parents. The challenge, however, is to develop an agreement that allows each parent to have a consistent, healthy relationship with their children, while maintaining agreed-upon guidelines for raising those children.
Consistent with that objective, in 2013 an Arizona law took effect changing "child custody" to "legal decision-making."
We prefer to settle issues of legal decision-making outside of a courtroom, because we believe that a child's parents are generally better equipped than the courts decide the child's future. If we succeed, we will draft an agreement that works for the parents and the children. If there are disputes that cannot be worked out privately, our firm will represent you in court to resolve these differences.
At a hearing concerning legal decision-making, there are many factors that a judge will consider when allocating parenting time and duties surrounding the children. The judge always looks after the best interests of the children first but will also consider evidence to your past and present conduct and abilities. These factors, pursuant to Arizona statute, include:
- The wishes of the child's parent or parents
- The wishes of the child
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child's parent or parents, the child's siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest
- The child's adjustment to home, school and community
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and meaningful continuing contact with the other parent
- Whether one parent, both parents or neither parent has provided primary care of the child
- The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding legal decision-making and parenting time.
Under Arizona law, court determinations regarding legal decision-making and parenting time should not be made on the basis of gender. That is, the court should show no preference to either the mother or the father.
can represent you in resolving these issues, whether it means helping you decide upon an agreement out of court, or representing your best interests inside the courtroom.