Child custody is one of the biggest issues a parent may encounter during separation or divorce. It has the potential to become the most conflict-oriented aspect of the process.
Choosing a Lawyer
It is critical to work with an experienced family law attorney to navigate the nuances and challenges and to guide you and your family to the best possible resolution. The team at Onisile Law Firm will provide an in-depth review of your situation, answer your questions and help you pursue the best route for you and your child.
What is Legal Decision Making?
In the State of Arizona, custody is called “Legal Decision-Making” There are several types of Legal Decision-Making, including the following:
- “Joint Legal Decision-Making” means that both parents share Legal Decision-Making and neither parents’ rights are superior, except with respect to specified decisions as set forth by the parents or the court in the final judgment.
- “Sole Decision-Making” means that one person has Legal Decision-Making rights on behalf of the child.
How is Legal Decision Making Determined?
The court determines Legal Decision-Making either originally or on a Petition for Modification, in accordance with the best interests of the child. The court will consider all relevant factors, including:
- The wishes of the child’s parents as to Legal Decision-Making;
- The wishes of the child as to the custodian;
- The relationship of the child with the child’s parents, siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;
- The child’s adjustment to home, school and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and meaningful continuing contact with the other parent;
- Whether one parent, both parents or neither parent has provided primary care to the child;
- Whether a parent has used intimidation or pressure to obtain an agreement regarding Legal Decision-Making;
- Whether a parent has complied with statutory requirements to complete a Parent Information Program;
- Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect; and
- Whether there has been actual child abuse or neglect
Why Child-Focused Representation Matters
Research tells us that children of separated or divorced parents do better if both parents stay actively involved in their lives. However, custody battles can become so conflict-oriented that they can cause emotional damage to the children involved and alienate them from one or both parents. If you and your spouse disagree about the matter of child custody, it is imperative that you retain a lawyer who can fight for your rights as a parent and help you achieve what is best for your child.