There are many different kinds of “child custody” a parent can obtain in Mesa. When referring to custody arrangements, some of the options include sole, shared, legal, physical, or bird’s nest custody, all of which grant different rights to the parents of a child.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s decision-making authority over their kids, whereas physical custody is where the child stays or lives for a majority of the time. To explore the options and determine which forms of custody in Mesa would be best for your kids, consider reaching out to a lawyer from our firm today.
Sole custody could refer to sole legal decision-making rights or a situation where the child resides with one parent 100 percent of the time. Sole legal custody means that one parent has the right and responsibility to make major decisions for the child without any input from or consultation with the other parent.
Sole physical custody means that one parent has the child 100 percent of the time while the other receives no parenting time or visitation rights. It is important to note that this type of arrangement is very rarely awarded, and sole legal custody is also not the norm in most family law cases.
When is this type of child custody used in Mesa?
Sole legal custody is awarded when the presiding family law judge believes it is in the best interests of a child for one parent to make decisions concerning the children’s’ health, religious upbringing, and education. The most common scenario where this type of custody is awarded is in situations of domestic violence, substance abuse, or where the parties have a complete inability to make decisions together and where one party has clearly disengaged from the conversation.
For example, a parent may be able show that they reached out to their child’s other parent consistently and professionally when enrolling them in a new school in order to get their input and that the other parent completely ignored them. An argument could be made that the other parent is not interested in the decision-making process and should not be given a voice.
Even in circumstances involving domestic violence or substance abuse, the court may award supervised time to the offending parent. Having no custody or parenting time with the children is an extreme outcome, but it may be appropriate when any contact with the child is detrimental to their best interests. However, supervision most often removes the risk of physical harm.
If there is risk of a child suffering psychological harm, the court might not permit any parenting time. For instance, if a child was sexually abused by a parent, the court usually orders no contact because being exposed to that parent could damage the child psychologically. To heal and thrive, the child may need to have no contact.
Joint legal custody means the parents work together to make major decisions about their children’s lives. Neither parent’s rights nor responsibilities with respect to making decisions are superior, and they must make decisions together.
One parent cannot change the child’s school without consulting the other. If parents have joint legal decision-making rights and one does not ask for the other’s opinion or makes a decision on their own, they would be in violation of the joint legal custody order. There could be legal consequences for breaching the terms of a child-sharing agreement.
Joint legal decision-making authority is the most common form of custody in Mesa and is the starting point for the courts in most cases. It is good to have a parenting plan, which is a written recitation of both parents’ rights and responsibilities, so that if a dispute arises, they can refer back to it.
Bird’s Nest Custody
A bird’s nest custody arrangement concerns parenting time rather than legal decision-making authority. For example, when the parties own a home and plan to continue sharing it while renting an apartment on the side, they may share custody while one parent stays in the home and the other lives in the apartment for an agreed upon period of time.
In that situation, both parents would not be in the house at the same time, but they would both technically be living there. The parent staying in the home has exclusivity with the children. The next week, the parent who was in the apartment may stay in the house with the children exclusively while the other parent moves into the apartment for the time being.
This arrangement is somewhat non-traditional, but some people like it because they do not want to disrupt their children’s living environment. Bird’s nest custody creates a constant living environment for the children. It is not something that a court awards by one party asking for it and can only be awarded when both parties agree.
Ask an Attorney about Forms of Custody in Mesa
Most trials focus on what took place before the filing and what occurred during the pendency of litigation. You should have clear goals for what you want to achieve and understand which factual scenarios will help you achieve them.
If both parties can agree and the agreement is fair, that is usually less costly and less time-consuming than going through the litigation process. It is also usually better for the children.
A great deal of work and numerous deadlines go into determining an appropriate child-sharing arrangement. Let one of our attorneys help you understand the different forms of custody in Mesa before entering litigation. Call us today.