If you are going through a divorce or separation and have children, one of the most significant decisions you will have to make is determining who will have legal custody of the children. In Arizona, legal custody is referred to as legal decision making. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what grounds sole legal custody is granted in Arizona and what you need to know about legal decision making.
Understanding Legal Decision Making in Arizona
Firstly, it’s important to understand that Arizona does not use the term custody. Instead, the state uses the term parenting time to refer to where the child is with which parent and legal decision making to refer to legal custody or who makes the major decisions about the children. It’s crucial to separate the two because you can have sole legal decision making and still have equal parenting time, or you can have joint legal decision making and still have one parent have the vast majority of parenting time.
What Grounds is Sole Legal Decision Making Granted in Arizona?
The grounds for granting sole legal decision making in Arizona are specific and typically relate to addiction, violence, or an inability to make decisions together. If one parent has a history of addiction, whether it be drugs or alcohol, this can be used as grounds for sole legal decision making. Similarly, if there is a history of violence, whether it be against the other parent or the child, this can also be used as grounds for sole legal decision making. Inability to make decisions together is another reason that can be used for granting sole legal decision making. This may be due to a history of high conflict or disagreements that have made it impossible to come to decisions together.
Logistical and Safety Reasons for Parenting Time
On the other hand, if a parent has the child the vast majority of the time, it’s usually due to logistical or safety reasons. For example, if one parent lives closer to the child’s school or has a more flexible work schedule, this may be a reason why they have the child more often. Safety reasons may include concerns about the child’s well-being, such as if one parent lives in a dangerous neighborhood or has a history of reckless behavior.
It’s essential to keep in mind that the decision for sole legal decision making and parenting time is made based on what is in the best interest of the child. The court will take into account many factors, including the child’s relationship with each parent, the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s emotional and physical needs, and any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or neglect.
Why we don’t say “custody” anymore
Arizona does not use the term custody, but instead uses parenting time and legal decision making. Sole legal decision making may be granted based on addiction, violence, or inability to make decisions together. Logistical or safety reasons may be used to determine who has the child the majority of the time. Remember that the court will always make a decision based on what is in the best interest of the child.
At Modern Law, we understand that determining legal decision making and parenting time can be a difficult and emotional process. Our experienced attorneys are here to help guide you through the process and ensure that your child’s best interests are protected. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.