Mesa Child Custody Attorney
Getting served with a petition can be one of the most nerve-wracking things to ever happen, especially when child custody is the major issue. Sometimes people see it coming, other times, getting served comes out of nowhere. Usually one of two things happens, you call your mom or you jump on Google. If you go to Google, it’s hard to even know where to start. You know you want an attorney. You know you want someone nearby who is experienced and will protect your child. The starting point is usually a broad Google search “Mesa Child Custody Attorney” where you will be greeted with ads, organic listings, and maps all pointing you to different child custody attorneys. Some won’t even be a “Mesa Child Custody Attorney”, so how can you choose?
Look at online reviews. We live in a time when you can get customer feedback on almost anything, and attorneys are not an exception. Look at the Google reviews that pop up, first you will see how many stars an attorney has, then you will see the number of reviews listed. Read them carefully, you will get insight into working with the child custody attorney and you can determine if the descriptions fit what you are looking for.
Once you choose your lawyer, you will probably go hunting for information about child custody, in Arizona.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
When a couple with a child or children file for divorce, they will need to submit a parenting plan to the court before the divorce is finalized. Parenting plans address a number of things, and are used to help parents determine where a child will live, who will be able to have legal decision making powers over a child, how conflicts will be mediated in the future, with whom the child will spend holidays, how the child will be transported between homes, and more.
A parenting plan must address both legal decision making responsibilities and parenting time. Legal decision making is the power to make important, non-emergency decisions about a child’s life, such as decisions about the child’s education or religious upbringing. Parenting time refers to the amount of time that a child spends with each parent.
You and your spouse should work together to devise a parenting plan that works for all parties, and that prioritizes the best interests of your child. If an agreement cannot be reached, then each parent must submit their own parenting plan to the court.
Can My (Ex) Spouse and I Share Custody?
One of the great things about family laws in Arizona is that these laws seek to help parents and their children maintain a healthy and loving relationship, even when the parents divorce. As such, Arizona laws allow for parents to maintain joint decision making responsibilities over a child, and share parenting time as they see fit. Shared legal and physical custody of a child is ideal in situations where both parents are committed to putting the child first and are able to get along well with one another, the parents live close by one another and therefore can easily transport the child back and forth, and both parents are committed to maintaining a loving relationship with the child and promoting the child’s loving relationship with the other parent.
Of course, joint custody, physical or legal, is not ideal for all divorced couples. When a divorce ends badly and things are ugly, sharing legal decision making power can actually be harder on everyone. If you and your spouse are unable to get along with one other, sole custody may be more reasonable than joint.
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What Happens if My Child’s Other Parent and I Disagree about Child Custody?
As mentioned above, if you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of a parenting agreement, then you will each need to submit your own separate parenting agreement to the court. From there, the outcome of your child custody case will be in the court’s hands.
The court must make a determination about legal decision making responsibilities and parenting time/physical custody based on the best interests of the child. To make this determination, the court will weigh a number of factors, including the child’s and parents’ preferences, any history of abuse or domestic violence, each party’s physical and mental health, each parent’s commitments to maintaining the child’s relationship with the other parent, and any other factors that the court deems relevant.
Remember, if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement, the court will make the decision for you. While this means that you child custody case may be resolved in your favor, it also means that there is a chance that you will lose custody of your child. Trying to put your differences aside for the sake of your child’s wellbeing and work together is always ideal. Mediation can be a very helpful tool for couples struggling to make a determination about custody.
Do I Need a Mesa Child Custody Attorney?
You are not legally obligated to hire a Mesa child custody attorney, but doing so can be very helpful. When you hire an attorney, your attorney will be responsible for helping you to understand and create a parenting plan, guiding you through mediation or negotiations with your spouse, submitting your parenting plan to the court, and even representing you in court if need be. An attorney who knows the law is a very valuable resource during a divorce case.
If you have questions about child custody in Mesa and want to improve your chances of having a custody case resolved in your favor, you should contact the firm of Modern Law, PLLC today. An initial consultation can provide you with much of the information you need to make a smart decision moving forward. Contact us online or by phone.