David Cantor explains how to get custody of a child in Arizona:
When parents separate or divorce, both parties must make arrangements so that the care of children continues. In some cases, both parties will agree on a plan to raise their children. In other cases, the courts will need to intervene in order to decide on a plan that will be in the best interests of the child. This includes deciding how much time the child will spend with each parent and which parent will be responsible for making important decisions for the child, such as the child’s education.
The process will depend on facts that are unique to each case. If the parents aren’t married, the father may have to first establish paternity by filing a petition with the court. The next step involves filing a petition for “parenting time”, which is a term that is now often used by courts in Arizona instead of “custody”. The father would explain facts that are relevant to the case, such as their working hours, plus any unique needs that the child has, such as educational and religious needs. The judge would then look at facts brought forth by both the mother and the father, in order to make a decision of who will get custody of the child and how long the child will spend with each of the parents.
There have been some changes to Arizona law, which took effect in January 2013. Prior to that, the primary care of the child would almost always go to the mother. This meant that mothers would spend the majority of the time with the children. The father would get a smaller share of the parenting time, such as every other weekend. Now, the courts are trying the “50/50” concept, where both parents would get equal parenting time, regardless of who the primary caregiver is. This means that a father who is willing to take the necessary steps will be able to spend half of the time with the child, thus getting a greater role in the child’s life.
Of course, the courts will not grant 50% parenting time in all of the cases. This is often true when considerations would make such a custody arrangement difficult for the parties involved, especially the child, such as in the case of parents who live a large distance from each other. The court will also evaluate the living conditions in both the mother’s and father’s home.
As every case is unique, if you have questions related to child custody issues in Arizona, it is always a good idea to consult an attorney that has experience dealing with custody issues. This will allow you to get the professional advice you need to proceed further with your case.
If you would like to speak with an attorney or schedule a free consultation regarding Child Custody in Arizona, call our offices 24 hours a day at (602) 254-8880. You can also send us a confidential email.