How to Get Sole Custody in Arizona
Getting Sole Custody in AZ
The Short Answer
The Arizona legislature has made major changes to child custody laws. These new statutes were placed into law effective January 1, 2013, and changed from the word “child custody”, such as “sole custody” or “joint custody” to “sole legal decision making” or “joint legal decision making”. The law also changed from the term “child visitation” to “parenting time”.
So, parents will now receive either “sole legal decision making” with “parenting time” rights or they will receive “joint legal decision making” and “parenting time”. A court may also give one parent “sole legal decision making” over, let’s say, major medical decisions while granting the other parent “sole legal decision making” authority over educational decisions. Let’s talk a little bit more about child custody in Arizona.
The Long Answer
Many who are considering divorce in Arizona procrastinate filing because they are worried about child custody issues. Arizona custody laws are applied by a judge to determine if sole custody or joint custody will be awarded to the parents. If you find yourself in this category, you’ve probably asked yourself so many questions they’ve started to blur together.
Will I get custody in Arizona? How do I get full custody in Arizona? Is joint custody the best option? What if I don’t feel my kids are safe with my ex? Can I get sole custody of my child? How do I file for sole custody in AZ?
The first step in becoming comfortable with filing for divorce or responding to a petition for dissolution of marriage is to know what types of child custody scenarios are possible and understanding the Arizona child custody laws. You then need to determine how you can win full custody of your children in Arizona by knowing how to prepare for a child custody case.
Getting Full Custody in Arizona
What is sole custody? Sole custody according to child custody laws in Arizona, now referred to as sole legal decision making, means that one person has sole legal custody of the child. This one person is responsible for making the major decisions regarding the child’s care.
Under Arizona child custody laws, both parents may discuss the matters as they arise, but the single parent designed as the sole legal decision maker by the court has the authority to make the final decisions in any situations when both parents do not agree. Sole custody and child support in Arizona are not directly related and having sole custody will not change your child support obligation, which is decided, in part, by how much time you spend with your children.
What is joint custody versus sole custody? In Arizona, no legal presumption favors one parent over the other, so the Court many times concludes the parents should have both make decisions. Joint legal decision making means both parents share the responsibility for major decision-making for the children equally.
Physical custody and control of the child/children are also shared equally between both parents holding joint physical parenting time, if appropriate, or on some other parenting schedule that suits the best interests of the child/children.
It’s not uncommon for individuals considering divorce or in the midst of a divorce to be worried about the outcome of their case. In many divorce cases, the primary contention is child custody. Once you know what types of custody the court might consider, you need to remember that the law does not prefer one form of custody over another and that the court does not prefer one parent over another because of the parent’s sex.
What You Need to Prove to Get Sole Custody
Will the Arizona Divorce Court consider sole legal custody? Yes, sole legal custody sometimes referred to as full custody AZ, will be considered when appropriate. If you believe joint custody is an inappropriate solution to your situation, you can file for sole custody in Arizona.
This would provide you with sole decision making authority in regards to all medical, education and religious matters that may impact the child or children.
Reasons the Court May Agree Sole Custody is Appropriate:
- Drug or Alcohol Abuse
- Child Abuse
- Criminal History
- Domestic Violence
- Mental Health Problems
If your spouse has any of the above issues, it is probably appropriate for you to consider requesting sole custody of your child. The court will consider your request and come to a decision based on the best interests of the child. Call our experienced Scottsdale and Phoenix Arizona child custody attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC at (480)305-8300 to learn more about child custody laws AZ if you have questions about obtaining sole custody in Arizona.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about child custody in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about child custody and family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce, child custody 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” awards.