Scottsdale Child Custody Attorney
Making the decision to get a divorce is never easy. But once you’ve chosen to separate from your spouse, it’s time to find an attorney who can help you, especially if you have children. A skilled lawyer can work with you directly and help make sure that you retain custody rights to your kids after the divorce is settled.
But don’t just call anyone you find online; instead, perform some quick research to help ensure you select the right attorney for the job. Does the attorney have positive reviews? Do they practice solely in family law? Do they have experience with child custody cases specifically? Are they located in Scottsdale?
These are all important questions that you should consider when searching for an attorney. And when you do find one, it’s time to learn more about how custody works in Arizona, and how you can ensure your rights to your children are protected.
Child Custody and the Law – Serving Your Child’s Best Interests
It is important to know what Arizona statute says about how a court is to make a determination about child custody, as well as the types of child custody that the state recognizes.
The state of Arizona recognizes two types of child custody that parents must make a decision about when formulating a parenting plan: legal decision making and parenting time. Legal decision making refers to the rights of a parent to make all nonemergency legal decisions for a child, such as where the child will attend school, the religion that the child will be raised, and personal activities that the child will engage in. Legal decision making power can be sole or joint, with one parent having sole responsibility for making legal decisions, or with parents sharing this responsibility equally.
Parenting time refers to the amount of physical time that each parent spends with the child. How parenting time is shared will depend upon the best interests of the child.
The best interests of the child, per Arizona Statutes Title 25, Section 25-403, are determined by:
- The wishes of each parent;
- The wishes of the child;
- The relationship that exists between the child and each parent;
- The child’s home, school, and community and adjustment to each;
- Each parent’s willingness to allow the other child to maintain a loving relationship with the other parent;
- The health, both physical and mental, of the child and each parent;
- The history of care provided by each parent;
- Any history of child abuse or domestic violence; and
- Any other factors that a court deems relevant to making a determination about the child’s best interests.
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Parenting Plans & Child Custody – What You Need to Know
A parenting plan is a type of legal document that address the two types of custody – legal and physical – discussed above. Parents should work together to create a parenting plan that speaks to the best interests of the child and suits each parent’s needs.
If parents cannot work together to create a parenting plan or are in disagreement about what should be contained in a parenting plan, then each parent is required under law to submit their own proposed parenting plan. If two separate parenting plans are submitted (one by each parent), the court will make a decision about which parenting plan to enact, or which elements of each to enact, by considering the child’s best interests (listed above), which plan proposes a practical schedule for parenting time, which plan contains a proposal for how parties will communicate with each other about the child’s needs, how each parent’s plan addresses things like holidays and vacation time, the location of each parent, each parent’s schedule and availability, each parent’s income and resources (in the event of extraordinary expenses), and other relevant factors.
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own about a parenting plan, it is highly recommended that you seek mediation. Being in charge of your parenting plan is ideal; if your case goes to court, you will lose the ability to control what happens in terms of child custody, and these issues will be decided by a court.
How an Experienced Scottsdale Child Custody Attorney Can Help
No one likes to think about the prospect of getting divorced, let alone the idea of losing the right to spend time with a child or make decisions regarding a child’s life. At the offices of Modern Law, PLLC, we know the fear and anxiety that you are likely feeling. Our experienced Scottsdale child custody attorney cares about the outcome of your case, and can help you to formulate a parenting plan, engage in mediations with your spouse, or prove to a court that you are a fit, competent, and loving parent who deserves custody of your child.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to take action. Calling our law firm could be the most important move you ever make.
Reach us today by phone, or use our online form to get in touch.