Arizona Child Custody Law 

practicearea2-v2In Arizona, the courts favor joint custody ( now called legal decision-making). Child custody pertains to four major areas: medical, education, religion, and personal care. Varney Family Law’s child custody and visitation lawyers in Mesa are here to provide guidance in these legal matters. In joint custody, neither parent stands in a superior decision-making role; both parents have equal say in these four areas. It is presumed that both parties will agree upon the major issues, such as taking the child to the same pediatrician, being raised in a certain religion, and agreeing upon whether the child needs tutoring or counseling. Joint child custody can be awarded even if the parents live in different states. Research has found that when there is an award of joint custody, both parents tend to stay involved with the children. With sole custody authority, one parent has the decision making authority in these areas. Sole custody may be awarded in the event of significant domestic violence in the relationship, or when it is not appropriate to award joint custody. The court starts from the presumption that both parents should be involved in legal decision-making. Please contact Varney Law’s child custody lawyers in Mesa to discuss this issue at (480) 838-2400.

Custody visitation in Arizona (now called parenting time) can look the same under either joint or sole custody. Our attorneys in Mesa can help with visitation rights litigation. A visitation schedule spells out the times when each parent will spend time with the child. There are many different parenting plans. Some depend on the age of the child, and others depend on the work schedules of the parties. Still others are based on the parents’ desires. The court must make orders that promote significant, meaningful, continuing and frequent contact between the parent and child. Arizona law states that judges cannot allow either the child’s gender or the gender of the parent to influence their decisions regarding custody or visitation.

The amount of parenting time directly affects the amount of child support to be paid. The more parenting time a parent has, the less the child support obligation is. Custody visitation in Arizona is calculated as follows:

* 1 day = 24 hours of time
* 1 day = a period of 12 or more hours
* ½ day = a period of 6-11 hours
* 1/4 day = a period of 3-5 hours
A period of less than 3 hours may count as 1/4 day if the visiting parent pays for routine expenses, such as a meal.

Child support is calculated, in part, upon the number of parenting days per year. When the parties do not live in the same geographical area, the court looks to long distance parenting time schedules. If the parties reside in different states or in different regions in Arizona, one parent may have the child during the school year (except for school breaks and/or long weekends), and the other parent may have visitation during the majority of the summer.

To find out more information regarding Arizona custody law and child visitation when parents live in different states, contact our child custody lawyers in Mesa today at (480) 830-2400 .

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  • Has sat as Judge Pro Tempore
  • 25+ years as a Family Law Attorney
  • 10 Years as a Social Worker