Getting divorced can be difficult. But it is especially challenging when children are involved. If you planning to get divorced and you anticipate child custody will be an issue, you should hire an experienced Tempe family law attorney that will fight for your rights as a parent.

Child custody laws in Arizona were designed to afford equal rights to both parents. This means, in most cases, you will need to work with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse on “legal decision-making” (i.e. the new term for child custody) and child support.

Understanding the Divorce Process when Children are Involved

Generally, when a couple decides to get divorced, they file a “Petition for Dissolution.” This petition can be filed with “temporary orders” regarding child custody while the divorce is being finalized. These orders are filed so it is established where the child, or children will live. The court looks to what is in the best interests of your child. The court considers numerous factors to arrive at the “best interests” of a child including:

  • Mental and physical health of each parent
  • Preference of the child
  • Financial resources of each parent
  • Your child’s attachment to their home and school
  • Whether there is evidence of child abuse
  • Whether or not there has been evidence of domestic violence
  • Any criminal convictions for drug or alcohol abuse

If child custody is contested, the court usually decides all major issues associated with a divorce including division of property, spousal support, and so forth. If custody is not contested, a written agreement requesting joint custody is usually filed with the court by your Tempe divorce attorney. The joint custody request should be accompanied by a “joint parenting plan” which sets forth custody issues such as visitation schedules, division of child-rearing costs, etc.

Assessing Custody

If custody is contested, it is wise to invest in a “custody evaluation” with an experienced mental health expert. The judge can order a custody evaluation, or you and your spouse can mutually agree to the evaluation. The retained expert will conduct tests on your children, you and your ex-spouse. The expert will then draft a written recommendation submitted directly to the judge overseeing your divorce case.

Contact an Experienced Tempe Divorce Lawyer Today

If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are fighting over child custody issues such as parenting time, you need an experienced and aggressive advocate on your side. Attorney Ronald L. Kossack is here to help. He has been representing Arizonans since 1993. In his over two decades of practicing family law, he has represented two thousand clients and has handled over eight hundred trials. We will do all we can to work toward a positive result for you. To speak with an experienced Tempe divorce lawyer, contact us by calling 480-345-2652.