Child Custody: An Overview

If you are getting divorced as a parent, you are definitely going to have a great deal on your mind. There are complicated legal matters that must be addressed on a number of different levels. It is very important to have the appropriate legal counsel by your side to guide you through the process and advocate your interests. This is especially important if you are involved in a child custody dispute.

In the state of Arizona where we practice law, both parents are legally entitled to parenting time, but there is one caveat. A judge can determine that a parent that is a danger to a child does not have the right to spend any time with the youngster. Though both parents have the legal right to parent their child, there are specifics that must be decided upon.

Pragmatic Communication

Most people are fully aware of the fact that a divorce is going to have a significant impact on their children. This is why couples often remain in marriages when they are not really happy. However, there are cases where a sudden revelation leads to a divorce while there are very significant hard feelings between the parties.

Regardless of the underlying cause for the divorce, Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. As a result, generally speaking, the judge would not take culpability into account if the court is forced to make a child custody decision. There could be extenuating circumstances, but in most cases, no-fault means just that.

The way that you feel about your spouse at the time of the divorce is a personal matter, but you have to consider the well-being of your child. You are both going to be raising the child for many years to come, and this is something to take quite seriously when you are thinking about child custody.

If there is a very negative dynamic between you and your former spouse, the child is going to feel it, and that is not a good space to occupy. Plus, the inevitable interactions that you have with your child’s other parent will be rather uncomfortable if you cannot find a way to communicate civilly.

The court will always encourage parents to come to some mutually agreeable child custody arrangement. You should certainly sit down and have a meaningful discussion with your former spouse as parents with the best interests of your child in mind. If both parties are fair and objective, an agreement can usually be reached.

Short of this, there are professional mediators that can enter the picture to help to guide the parties toward an amenable solution. Sometimes a court will order parents go through mediation when they cannot agree upon a parenting plan.

Types of Custody

There are essentially two different forms of child custody. Physical custody is somewhat self-explanatory. A child will live with a parent that has physical custody. In some cases, parents will have joint physical custody with the child staying with each respective parent for a prescribed period of time.

The other type of custody is legal custody. This gives a parent the right to make legally binding decisions on behalf of the child. It could apply to medical decisions, school choices, permission to go on field trips or participate in sports, and other matters that require parental approval. In most cases in Arizona, both parents will have shared legal custody.

Parenting Plan

Even if you and your spouse can come to a child custody agreement, you must create a parenting plan and present it to the court. There is a very specific process that must be followed, and this is why it is a good idea to engage one of our Scottsdale lawyers for child custody.

You and your spouse would each be required to present a parenting plan to the court if you cannot reach an agreement. Under these circumstances, the assistance of an attorney can be even more invaluable, because you have to present a strong case to obtain a favorable outcome.

Download Our Free Child Custody Guide!

Since you have read this blog post, you must be looking for information about child custody. Our Scottsdale lawyers for child custody have developed a very useful child custody guide that will explain everything you need to know about the process.


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