Parents must decide on the care of a child or children during and after the divorce or separation process. Child custody covers aspects such as which parent will be the primary caregiver and how much time the kids will spend with each parent. If both parents can’t agree on a workable plan, the court is always a viable option, and it’ll consider the children’s best interests.
This article discusses the different types of child custody arrangements in Arizona and how finding the right child custody lawyer in Arizona can make all the difference.
Types of Child Custody Arrangements in Arizona
There are two main types of child custody arrangements in Arizona: physical custody and legal custody.
Legal custody is the right to make decisions about a child’s upbringing, including decisions about education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. A parent with legal custody has the right to be involved in these decisions, even if they do not have physical custody of the child.
Physical custody addresses where the child will physically reside. A parent with physical custody is responsible for the child’s day-to-day care and supervision.
There are several different child custody arrangements that can be ordered by a court in Arizona, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Some common custody arrangements include:
Sole legal custody: One parent has the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, and the child lives with that parent.
Sole physical custody: The child lives with one parent, and the other parent may have visitation rights.
Joint legal custody: Both parents have the right to be involved in decisions about the child’s upbringing.
Joint physical custody: The child spends significant time with both parents and may have two primary residences.
What Does the Court Consider When Determining Child Custody?
In Arizona, the court will consider a variety of factors when determining child custody, with the primary focus being on the best interests of the child. Some of the specific factors that the court may consider include:
- The child’s relationship with each parent and any other significant people in the child’s life, such as grandparents or other relatives
- The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community
- The mental and physical health of each parent
- The ability of each parent to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs
- The child’s preference, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity
- Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent
- The willingness of each parent to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent
- Any other factors that the court deems relevant to the case
It’s important to note that the court has wide discretion in determining child custody, and the specific factors considered may vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. In general, the court will strive to create a custody arrangement that promotes the child’s well-being and allows the child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, to the extent that’s possible and in the child’s best interests.
How Can a Child Custody Lawyer Help?
A child custody lawyer in Arizona can provide legal representation and guidance in child custody disputes. Here are some specific ways that a child custody lawyer can help:
- Advising clients on their legal rights and options in child custody cases
- Negotiating a child custody agreement with the other party or the other party’s lawyer
- Representing clients in court proceedings and advocating on their behalf
- Helping clients understand the legal process and what to expect at each stage of the case
- Assisting clients in gathering and presenting evidence to support their position in the case
- Providing emotional support and guidance to clients who are dealing with the stress of a child custody dispute
A child custody lawyer can also help you to understand the factors that the court will consider when determining child custody and can work with you to develop a strategy designed to achieve your custody arrangement goals.
Modifying a Child Custody Arrangement in Arizona
You can modify a child custody arrangement if there has been a material change in circumstances since the original custody order was entered. The modification has to be in the best interest of the child. A material change in circumstances could include things like a significant change in the child’s needs, a change in the living situations or work schedules of the parents, or a move to a new location.
You must file a request with the court and provide evidence of the material change in circumstances. The court will then consider the request and may hold a hearing to determine whether the modification is appropriate.
If you are seeking to modify a child custody arrangement in Arizona, it may be helpful to consult with a child custody lawyer who can advise you on your legal rights and options and assist you in preparing and presenting your case to the court.