Child Custody During an Arizona Divorce
Many of our clients have questions about child custody during an Arizona divorce. One of the first things people often ask is who has custody of the children during a legal separation or divorce in Arizona.
The simple answer is that neither parent’s rights to the care, custody, and control of their children are superior to the rights of the other parent. If you did not find that answer very helpful, you would be among the majority of parents struggling with this problem.
However, there are remedies available to more clearly define when each parent will spend time with his or her children and the manner in which major decisions affecting the children will be decided. Either parent may request the court to schedule a Temporary Orders hearing to determine what parenting time arrangements are in the best interests of the children.
Unless the facts of a particular case support otherwise, the court will attempt to make as few changes to the kids’ living arrangements as possible because the courts generally view drastic changes to a youth’s schedule as being disruptive to the children.
As a result, the court will determine which of the two parents continues to reside in the home where the children have been raised and which parent has primarily been responsible for taking care of the children. These factors are not conclusive on the issue of child custody during an Arizona divorce or legal custody, but they are considered by all judges in Arizona.
Ideally, parents would place the best interests of their children as their first priority. There are situations when both parents have differing opinions regarding what child custody orders in a divorce in Arizona are best for the children. This does not necessarily mean either or both parent is placing his or her interests ahead of their children; it may simply be a matter of a disagreement.
Parents Who Use the Custody of the Children as Pawns in Their Divorce
However, there are some circumstances when parents are proposing a parenting schedule to further their own self-interests, such as lashing out at the other parent or attempting to gain a financial advantage over child support.
The extent to which a parent advances his or her agenda, such as attempting to influence the children or alienate the child from the other parent, will have significant negative consequences for the children.
An Arizona judge will expect both parents to protect the children from any conflict occurring in the divorce. When a parent does not do so, the court may need to employ therapists, parenting coordinators, family law and dispute resolution specialists, and other experts to monitor and report back to the court.
If the problem is not resolved, the court may grant one parent sole legal decision-making rights over the children.
Parents should attempt to work out a temporary child custody arrangement during a divorce in Arizona. If they are unable to reach an agreement, either party may file a Motion for Temporary Orders, which is a request for the court to schedule a hearing to determine what parenting time arrangements will be put in place until the court may conduct the final divorce trial.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.