Child custody cases can be challenging and emotional for families. Navigating this difficult terrain can be hard without help and support, which is why it is important to work with a child custody lawyer.
Our Flagstaff child custody attorneys at The Zickerman Law Office, PLLC are dedicated to helping guide our clients with empathy and professionalism. We believe that every client deserves personalized attention and support throughout the entire process. With our legal team by your side, you can rest assured that you'll have someone to advocate for you.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discover how we can help you navigate your child custody case with confidence. Call (928) 323-0910.
Is Arizona a “Mother State”?
Arizona is not a "Mother's state.” Arizona Statute Section 403 (A) states that “the court shall determine legal decision-making and parenting time, either originally or on petition for modification, in accordance with the best interests of the child.”
This legal provision is in place to ensure that custody orders are made based on the best interests of the child, without any bias towards either parent. As a result, Arizona parents can approach child custody cases knowing that they will be evaluated based on factors such as their parenting abilities, relationship with the child, and their ability to provide a stable and safe home environment, rather than their gender.
Additionally, in Arizona, parents have the decision to have sole or joint custody of their child, as the courts strive to give the child exposure to both parents whenever safe and in the child’s best interest. Ultimately, this allows for fair and just custody orders to be made that prioritize the well-being of the child above all else.
How Is Child Custody Determined in Arizona?
When it comes to making the decision on who gains custody of the child, the court takes into consideration several factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child.
Factors the court will consider include:
- Past and present relationship between parent and child.
- The relationship between the child, their siblings, and other significant persons who may affect the child’s best interest.
- The child’s ability to adjust to home, school, and community.
- The mental and physical health of the parents and child.
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and meaningful continual contact with the other parent.
- If one parent intentionally misleads the court to cause any unnecessary delay.
- History of domestic violence or child abuse.
Does the Child Have a Say in Custody in Arizona?
In the state of Arizona, children do not decide which parent can have custody. This is done to protect the child and eliminate the possibility of them being bribed or threatened by one parent. In addition, this helps the child avoid pressure that could fall upon them during custody battles. However, the court can take into consideration the child’s wishes.
The judge may ask for the child’s opinion through the following methods:
- Ordering a therapist to conduct a custody evaluation and write a report including what the child has to say.
- Speaking directly to the child in private chambers where the child would not be pressured by their parents.
- Appointing a lawyer to represent the child only. This appointed lawyer would interview the child and advocate for them.
Ultimately, the court will make their decision based on what is in the best interests of the child. This is why having an attorney by your side to advocate for you and present evidence of your ability to care for your child is crucial. Not only will they be able to guide you through the legal process, but they will also help you present a strong case.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
When it comes to child custody in Arizona, a co-parenting model is applied to ensure that both parents play an active role in their child's life. This approach requires parents seeking joint custody to submit a detailed parenting plan to the court.
A parenting planwill include at least the following:
- “Designation of the legal decision-making as joint or sole.”
- Each parent’s rights and responsibilities for personal care and decision making for the child.
- A schedule of parenting time for the child.
- A detailed procedure for exchanges of the child.
- A procedure for how proposed changes and alleged breaches may be resolved.
- A procedure for the periodic review of the parenting plan.
- A procedure for communicating with each other about the child.
- A statement that each party has read and will abide by.
This plan outlines clearly defined custody arrangements, which both parents must adhere to, giving the child a sense of predictability. Having a written plan enforced by the court means that parents can rest assured that there is consistency and reliability in their custody arrangement.
Contact Our Flagstaff Child Custody Lawyers
At The Zickerman Law Office, PLLC, we understand the sensitive nature of child custody cases and how they can be emotionally draining for our clients. That's why our team of experienced and passionate advocates is committed to helping families navigate through the legal process with empathy.
When you choose to work with us, you can trust that we will fight for your rights and strive to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family. Let our Flagstaff child custody attorneys provide you with the support and guidance you deserve during this challenging time.