Joint Custody Versus Sole Custody in Arizona
Joint and Sole Custody in Arizona
Everyone knows what is being discussed when the word divorce comes up. Most even know that the phrase dissolution of marriage is a legal phrase used to replace the more common word of divorce. But not nearly as many are clear about the other phrases are thrown around frequently during Arizona divorce proceedings.
Child Custody: The term child custody has been replaced with the term legal decision making in Arizona and that means how decisions concerning the care, control, and maintenance of a child will be made. A child custody determination means a judgment, decree, or other order of a court that provides for the legal custody, physical custody, or visitation concerning a child.
Legal Decision Making: This is the phrase that has taken the place of the phrase “child custody” in Arizona courts.
Parenting time is another term for visitation. Arizona courts attempt to ensure that the child continues to have a meaningful relationship with both their parents by ordering parenting time that continues contact with both parents. Parenting time could be limited or denied by the court depending upon what is best for the child.
Most parents often want to know whether joint or sole custody is best for their children. In most situations, both parents are involved in making major decisions regarding raising their child: health care, education, religion, residence, etc.
When parents are married, they aren’t required to seek a legal right to decision-making for their child. But if there is a disagreement regarding which parent has the right to make a decision, or if government officials find that one or both parents are unfit for decision-making on their child’s behalf, the family courts will intervene to make a decision that is in the best interests of the child.
When a married couple seeks a dissolution of marriage, the final divorce decree includes information regarding legal decision making and parenting time for any children of the couple getting divorced. The information the court considers, to name a few, when deciding on a divorcing couple’s children include:
- The child’s wishes
- The child’s relationship with each of their parents
- Adjustments the child will need to make concerning school, home, community, etc
- The child and parents’ mental and physical health
- Issues with domestic violence or child abuse
- Parents’ completion of programs required by Arizona state law
- Agreement/disagreement between parents regarding legal decision making and parenting time
- The ability of each parent to communicate with each other and the child effectively
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about joint versus sole custody in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about child custody laws in Arizona. Chris is a 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 child custody case should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.