Top Child Custody Lawyers in Arizona
Child Custody Lawyers at Hildebrand Law, PC.
In Arizona, child custody and Arizona child custody laws define the relationship a parent has with their children. It includes the right to make major life decisions for the children and the ability of the parents to spend with and care for their children.
Child custody issues typically arise when a husband and wife separate or get divorced. Child custody issues can also arise between unmarried parents who have a child in common.
If parents are amicable and can reach a reasonable child custody agreement, the parents may agree on a written parenting plan detailing their agreements. The court will then issue court orders enforcing the terms of that parenting plan, so long as the court first finds the agreements to be in the best interests of the children.
If the parents do not agree on a parenting plan or specific child custody arrangements, you will have to appear in court for a trial in order for the court to issue child custody orders the judge believes are in your child’s best interests.
Taking a case to trial and understanding all aspects of Arizona child custody laws can be very difficult. Therefore, it is important for you to meet with an experienced Arizona child custody lawyer about your child custody case.
The lawyers at Hildebrand Law, PC have over 100 years of combined child custody litigation experience. We have helped many parents secure child custody orders that protect their role as a parent of their child. We are here to help you in Arizona child custody cases.
Our strong reputation for achieving results in our clients’ child custody cases has also resulted in the Firm receiving numerous awards, such as Best of the Valley, Top Lawyers, and U.S. News and World Report Best Family Law Firm | 2020, and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Call today at (480)305-8300 to schedule your personalized consultation with one of our experienced Arizona child custody lawyers.
Types of Child Custody in Arizona
When you talk about child custody in Arizona, you are really referring to two separate and distinct issues. The first pertains to what we call “legal custody” and the other is what we refer to as “physical custody” of the children.
Legal custody refers to which parent, or both, get to make major decisions affecting your children, such as the school the child will attend, the doctors who will provide medical care for the children, and the extracurricular activities in which the children will participate.
Types of Legal Child Custody Orders in Arizona
As a result, there are two primary forms of legal custody in Arizona. Specifically, joint legal custody where both parents equally participate in making decisions for the children and sole legal custody where only one of the parents is allowed to make those decisions for the children.
Types of Physical Child Custody Orders in Arizona
Physical child custody orders simply detail how much time a child spends with each parent. These physical child custody orders will contain a specific schedule the children will spend with each parent every week. It will also contain a schedule for the parents to spend time with their children during holidays and vacations.
The Best Interests of your Child
In Arizona child custody cases, the court is required by law to enter child custody orders the judge believes is in your children’s best interests.
Before deciding what is in your children’s best interests, the court must consider the following:
- The wishes of the parents;
- The child’s wishes;
- How the child interacts with each parent and any other kids or other adults in their respective households;
- The mental, emotional, and physical health of each caregiver to the child;
- The child’s adjustment to home, school, and surrounding community;
- Which parent has been primarily responsible for providing care for the child in the past, as well as each parent’s current and future potential relationship with the child;
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child to maintain frequent and meaningful contact with the other parent;
- Whether either party has attempted to use duress or coercion to force the other parent into reaching an agreement regarding legal decision making or parenting time of the child;
- Whether either party has raised a false allegation of child abuse against the other parent;
- Whether either parent has been convicted of a domestic violence offense or has a substance abuse problem;
- Whether either parent has unnecessarily protracted litigation concerning the issues of legal decision making or parenting time;
Winning a Child Custody Battle in an Arizona Court
If you want to have primary physical custody of your children, you and your Arizona child custody lawyer must prove it is in your children’s best interests for the kids to live primarily with you and to have more limited time with the other parent.
You and your child custody lawyer will have to present a persuasive case proving how the children living primarily with you is better for the children than spending more time with the other parent.
You and your Arizona child custody attorney will have to present testimony and submit documents as exhibits at your child custody trial establishing precisely why the children should live primarily with you.
You will need to testify regarding the children’s school schedule, performance in school, social schedule, and participation in extracurricular activities.
You will need to testify about your work schedule, the other parent’s work schedule, and how you will arrange to have the children cared for when you are at work.
You will also want to present evidence as to any concerns you have about the parenting of the other parent. These could be things such as evidence of the other parent not complying with a court-ordered parenting plan, a busy or unpredictable work schedule, or issues with domestic violence or substance abuse.
Your child custody lawyer can guide you to build the best child custody case for you and your children.
Using Mediation to Settle Child Custody Issues
It is almost always better when parents avoid conflict. Decreasing the level of conflict between parents typically lessens the stress the children may undergo when their parents are fighting over child custody issues.
In Arizona, a judge can order the parents to mediate their child custody issues. This mediation can be done by a private mediator whom the parents agree to mediate their child custody disputes. The court also offers mediation through the court’s Conciliation Services department.
If you reach an agreement in mediation, you can prepare a parenting plan to submit to the court for the court’s approval.
Enforcing Child Custody and Visitation Orders
In most cases, parents follow the court-ordered parenting plan. However, there are some parents who either believe they can do whatever they want regardless of what orders the court issued. They may do this as a way to punish the other parent because of bad feelings that still exist between the parents.
If a parent is consistently failing to follow the court-ordered parenting plan, you may want to work with an experienced Arizona child custody lawyer like the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC to ask the court to award you primary physical custody of your children.
At a minimum, you may want to file a Petition for Contempt requesting the other parent be held in contempt of court for violating the child custody orders in your case.
If you have been unable to resolve the issue of enforcement of your child custody orders with the other parent, it may be time to have the experienced child custody attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC step in to either deal directly with the other parent or to take him or her to court.
Hiring a strong and experienced child custody lawyer sends a very serious and strong message to the other parent about enforcing your child custody rights. Recommended actions could include filing to change physical custody, filing a Petition for Contempt and Request for Sanctions, and/or reporting the violations of the court order to the police as a class 1 misdemeanor of Intentional Interference with a Judicial Proceeding.
The child custody lawyers at Hildebrand Law, PC can help you file to modify the child custody orders and/or to hold the other parent in contempt of court.
Contact Our Scottsdale Arizona Divorce Attorneys
Call us today at (480)305-8300 to schedule your personalized consultation with one of our experienced Arizona divorce attorneys at our award-winning law firm located in Scottsdale, Arizona to get answers to your questions about divorce laws in Arizona.
U.S. News and World Report “Best Divorce Law Firm | 2020”, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills Magazine, “Top Family Law Attorney” by North Valley Magazine, “AV Rated Divorce Attorney” by Martindale-Hubbell” and many more.
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Chris Hildebrand wrote the information on this page about custody lawyers in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about child custody 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.