Child Custody Laws AZ

The Scottsdale Arizona child custody attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC want to provide you with helpful information on Arizona child custody laws. Arizona child custody orders, the modification of those orders, and the enforcement of those orders are made a judge of the superior court in the county in which the child resides. City and justice court judges have no authority to issue orders establishing, modifying, or enforcing child custody orders issued by a superior court judge.

In accordance with child custody laws in Arizona, the court will consider numerous factors before issuing child custody, now referred to as legal decision making, or parenting time. To name a few, the Court will consider the ages of the children, the children’s past, present, and future relationship with each parent, the children’s relationship with other people in each parent’s home, the children’s adjustment to their respective homes, school and community, the mental health of each parent, whether there has been domestic violence directed at the child or the other parent, and whether either parent has a substance abuse problem that needs to be addressed.

Both parents are presumed to be fit parents, so the person alleging the other parent is unfit has the burden of proving the other parent is an unfit parent. This means a parent would need to present evidence in the form of testimony from that parent and other witnesses, as well as the introduction of exhibits into evidence, such as police reports.


Child Custody Laws AZ | Grandparents and Step Parents Rights

Child custody laws in Arizona also provide grandparents and former step parents with potential rights to see children. Grandparents and even third parties whom the child has treated as a parent (in loco parentis) and who has exercised substantial time with the child may petition for visitation with that child. Although, a United State Supreme Court decision placed limitations on the extent to which an Arizona court can order grandparent or third party visitation with a child. If you are in such a position, you need to ensure you speak to an Arizona child custody attorney is very familiar with the United States Supreme Court decision affecting grandparent and in loco parentis visitation.

Once child custody and parenting time orders are in place, either parent may petition the court to modify parenting orders at any time the have facts that would establish it is in the best interests of the children to modify parenting time. A parent may not seek to modify the court’s legal decision making order within one year of the entry of that order unless allegations exist establishing the orders are placing the child in imminent risk of serious harm.

If a child is in imminent risk of serious harm by the other parent as the result of child abuse or neglect, an Emergency Petition to Modify Child Custody and Parenting Time can be filed. The Petition must include allegations that, if true, would demonstrate the child is in imminent risk of serious harm by the other parent or someone the other parent is allowing to have access to the child. The Arizona family law judge will either grant or deny that emergency petition the same day it is filed depending upon whether the allegations, if true, establishes the child is being subjected to child abuse or neglect in Arizona.

If you file an emergency petition, you must also file a Motion for Temporary Orders Hearing because the judge will be required to schedule an evidentiary hearing very quickly at which time both parents will need to present evidence in support of their respective positions.

The Arizona child custody attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC created this child custody video to assist in educating the public on the Arizona child custody laws. We will be publishing additional child custody and other family law educational videos, so please stay tuned.