Since 2013, Arizona no longer uses the term “child custody” when referring to which parent is responsible for the care, control and maintenance of a child following a divorce. Instead, the legal term used to refer to child custody is “legal decision-making.” Consequently, Arizona courts determine which parent will have the legal decision-making authority over the children after a divorce has been finalized.

When parents separate due to divorce, the care for the children must continue. If you are facing divorce in Arizona or are disputing child rearing matters with your ex-spouse, contact an understanding and seasoned Scottsdale child custody attorney right away to learn about your rights and obligations under Arizona law.

How Legal Decision-Making Authority is Decided

An Arizona court may order both parents to have legal-decision making authority over the children or, alternatively, it may decide only one parent should be given this right. The former is called joint legal-decision making and requires both parents to work together to make decisions regarding their child/ren. The latter allows for one parent to make these decisions without consulting the other first.

When making this determination, the court will consider the “best interest of the child” and use the specific factors listed in the state statute. Some of these factors include:

  • Relationship among the child/ren and the parent including past, present, and future;
  • Mental and physical health of all parties involved in the divorce;
  • Child/ren’s adjustment to school, home, and community;
  • Wishes of the child/ren, if of suitable age and maturity, as to which parent should have legal decision-making authority;
  • Whether one parent misled the court, intentionally, in order to cause unnecessary delay, increase costs of litigation, or to persuade the court to give preference to that parent in legal decision-making or parenting time;
  • Whether either parent has been convicted of falsely reporting child abuse or neglect;
  • Whether domestic or child abuse has occurred, as defined in Arizona statute; and
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child to have meaningful, frequent, and continuing contact with the other parent;

Scottsdale Child Custody Help

If you and your spouse are having difficulty agreeing on child custody and legal decision-making authority, the court will likely need to make a determination based on the best interest of the child standard. Hiring a knowledgeable Arizona child custody attorney in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe or surrounding areas of the state will help build and strengthen your case. Contact the Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack today by calling 480.345.2652 to schedule your initial case evaluation.