Determining child custody after the dissolution of your marriage or the end of your relationship may be a main source of dispute. When ex-spouses or ex-partners cannot come to a harmonious parenting agreement on their own or through mediation, an Arizona court will step in and make the determination for them. There are many factors that a court will consider when creating a custody order. If you are dealing with any issues surrounding child custody, contact the family lawyers at our law firm so your parental rights are vigorously protected.
Types Of Child Custody
In the State of Arizona, there are different forms of custody that may be applicable to your case. The different forms of custody include joint legal custody, sole legal custody, joint physical custody, sole physical custody or third party custody. Custody may also take the form of a combination of any of the aforementioned types.
Joint Legal Custody & Joint Physical Custody
Joint legal custody allows both parents to share responsibilities and have the authority over the child. Under joint legal custody, both parents will have decision-making rights in regards to health, education and overall welfare of the child. Likewise, joint physical custody allows the child to reside with both parents for significant periods of time. Joint physical custody does not equate to an absolute 50/50 split of time a child spends with each parent; rather, it is the designation of frequent and continual contact with each parent.
Sole Legal Custody & Sole Physical Custody
By contrast, sole legal custody is established when an Arizona court awards one parent all decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority of the child or children. Likewise, sole physical custody occurs when one parent has the child live full time at their place of residence. Sole custody may be ordered while giving the non-custodial parent visitation rights.
How A Court Determines Custody
An Arizona court will determine custody in accordance with what is in the best interest of the child. There are many factors that will be considered when making this determination. A court will assess any current parental plans presented by the parents as well as wishes of each parent. Then the court will review the ability of each parent to perform their parental duties as well as the needs of the child to maintain frequent contact with each parent. A court will also consider the dynamics of other relationships that affect the parental-child relationship, such as the relationships with siblings or other actors that play a meaningful role in the child’s everyday life.
As the ideal determination seeks to maintain a child’s relationship with both parents, despite the dissolution of a marriage, a court may give preference to the parent who is more likely to allow visitation and facilitate ongoing contact with the other parent. Therefore a parent that creates unnecessary obstacles for a meaningful interaction between the other parent and the child will be viewed adversely and may affect the ultimate determination of custody.
The child’s school, home, and community will also be a factor in the court’s determination as well as any relocation plans either parent may have. The mental and physical health of each parent will be evaluated along with any history of abuse, neglect or charges of certain felonies. The circumstances of your family, your parental abilities and the preference of your child along with all relevant factors will be taken as a whole to determine your child custody order.
Contact A Family Lawyer
Arizona public policy mandates that both parents maintain frequent and continuous contact with their child after a divorce. However, there may be specific facts of your case which greatly affect what the best form of custody for you child will be.There are many facts an Arizona court will find relevant when determining child custody and it is paramount that you contact the lawyers at The Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack to ensure your parental rights are properly protected 480.345.2652