Custody Battles in Arizona: What is the Most Likely Outcome?

Child custody is one of the biggest fights in divorces among couples with children. Few parents want to give up time with their kids. They want to be with them as much as possible so that they don’t miss out on any of those important steps along the way. Most parents also want to have the right to make decisions for their children, such as where they go to school and what kind of medical care they receive.

Working with an experienced child custody lawyer in Glendale can help you get the arrangement you want. Here’s what you can expect from a child custody battle in Arizona:

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It’s Not Called “Custody”

A new law went into effect in Arizona in 2013 that changes the way child custody is handled. The first thing it does is take out the word “custody.” Now, “parenting time” is used to refer to how much time each parent has with the child, whether through visits or overnight stays. “Legal decision making” is used to talk about which parent can make decisions for the child, such as for medical care or education.

You may be confused if you hear your attorney or a judge start using these terms. Knowing what to expect can help you acclimate more quickly.

The Standard for Decision Making

Judges are meant to look at what’s in the best interests of the child when determining how much time each parent gets and who is able to make decisions for the child. Generally speaking, judges assume that it’s in the best interests of the child to have equal time with both parents and to have a strong relationship with them both.

You will need to make a good case for why it’s in the best interests of your children to be with you more often or for you to make decisions for them. Otherwise, the presumption is that time and decision making will be split among both parents. Your attorney will help you understand what to expect, as well as how a judge will see your proposed arguments for having more time. Your child custody attorney in Glendale can help you develop a persuasive argument for more time if you think it necessary.

Mitigating Factors

Of course, there are mitigating factors that can show that it’s not in a child’s best interests to be with one parent either part of the time or all of the time. Some common reasons would be that the parent abuses drugs or alcohol, is physically or emotionally abusive of the children, or has perpetrated domestic violence. You will need to prove these claims, so coming up with evidence will be essential. That might include a police report, the testimony of a doctor or therapist, or something else.

Your attorney will help you come up with the right evidence and arguments for showing why one parent’s influence can be harmful for the children.

Changing an Order

If you already have a child custody order in place, you will need to show that there has been a significant change in circumstance in order to change it. That means showing that something has changed that is no longer in your children’s best interests. You’ll need to work with a Glendale child custody attorney who can help you put together the right argument and evidence to get the change you want.

Child custody is dealt with in Arizona much the same way it is in other states. Judges recognize that children need both of their parents, and they will work to create an order that will be in the children’s best interests. If you feel that it’s in your children’s best interests to spend most or all of their time with you, you will need to work with a child custody attorney in Glendale who can fight for your interests and help you get the parenting plan you want.

My AZ Lawyers may be able to help if you are in a child custody battle or expect to be in one in Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa, Tucson, or the surrounding areas. Our experienced Glendale family law lawyers have seen the new child custody laws play out in the courts, and they know how judges react to different circumstances. They can help you understand what to expect from your case and help you find options for getting the plan you want. Contact us today in Glendale to talk with a family law attorney.

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