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Posts Tagged ‘arizona’

Arizona Changes Custody to Legal Decision-Making

Posted on: January 30th, 2013 by Scott Law

Child custody is often a very confusing and misunderstood area of family law for people facing a Phoenix custody or divorce case.  With the new year brings new changes to the laws on child custody in Arizona.  The first and most apparent change is that the term “child custody” has been replaced with the term “legal decision-making.”  A.R.S. §25-403 includes several other changes that may affect your Phoenix divorce or custody case.  The following are some examples of the changes made:

  1. The law eliminates any consideration of the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to custody.
  2. The fact that one, both, or neither parent has provided primary care for the child is no longer considered.
  3. The factor that permits the court to consider the wishes of the child has been modified to only require the court to consider the child’s wishes if that child is of suitable age and maturity.
  4. The law adds a requirement that the court must consider the past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and child.
  5. Where the law previously required the court to consider which parent would be more likely to provide frequent, meaningful continuing contact with the other parent, the new law seems to divide these into three separate factors, instead of two.  So, the court will consider which parent is more likely to provide 1) frequent, 2) meaningful, and 3) continuing contact with the other parent.

The law also includes the following new provisions:

  1. The court may consider whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause unnecessary delay, increase the cost of litigation or to persuade the court to give them parenting time or custody or to deny the other parent parenting time or custody.
  2. The court shall not consider either the parent or child’s gender when approving a parenting plan.
  3. The court shall consider the past, present and future abilities of the parents to cooperate in decision-making about the child as set forth in the orders for joint legal decision-making.

The foregoing are just some of the changes made to the Arizona laws on custody and legal decision-making.  If you have questions regarding a Phoenix, Glendale or Anthem divorce or child custody case contact Scott Law Offices for your free consultation.

Parenting Time and the Holiday Season

Posted on: December 6th, 2012 by Scott Law

Scott Law Offices is focused on family.  The holiday season is all about family.  Holidays can bring a certain amount of stress for many people.  When two people share child custody in Arizona, that holiday stress is often magnified.  Avoiding child custody and parenting time issues during the holidays can reduce stress for all involved.  By doing so, the children can enjoy a great holiday experience with both parents.  Here are some things to consider:

Check Your Paperwork

Your court orders for child custody and parenting time are binding.  Oftentimes there are specific orders regarding holiday parenting time set forth in your parenting time orders.  Stick to this schedule unless and until the orders are formally changed.  Most parenting time arrangements can be modified so long as the parties have a mutual agreement in writing.  Before making any modification to the parenting time schedule, be sure to follow the procedures for modifications set forth in your court orders.

Travel

Be sure to check your custody orders for limitations on travel.  It is often the case that advanced notice must be given to the other parent prior to traveling out of State with the children.  Sometimes permission must be obtained from the other parent to allow the children to travel out of State.  Plan ahead and give sufficient time for any necessary discussions related to travel.  Also, you may want to consider allowing some form of video chatting between the children and the other parent while you are travelling.  This may ease any stress that the children and the other parent may feel from being away from each other during the holidays.

Trade Time

If you find that you need to keep the children for extra time over the holidays or hope to have the children on a day that is not designated to you in your custody orders, consider trading time.  You could offer the other parent extra days at any time during the year or possibly offer them a holiday that would normally fall during your parenting time.  Flexibility is important in any co-parenting situation.

Be Nice

Though it may be difficult, try to be nice.  A little bit of compassion and tolerance can go a long way.  This can alleviate stress not only for you and the other parent, but for your children.  Communication is often the key to avoiding difficult holiday disputes.  Having effective communication and playing nicely with the other parent will set a good example for your children and may help them to have a happy holiday.

If you have questions about your parenting time schedule or child custody orders do not wait until last-minute.  Avoid the stress of last-minute holiday disputes by addressing potential holiday parenting time issues well in advance of the holidays and court closures.  Contact a Scott Law Offices custody attorney for your free consultation.

What Parenting Time Schedule is Appropriate for My Child?

Posted on: June 19th, 2012 by Scott Law

Determining what parenting time schedule is appropriate for a child can often be challenging.  The Court looks to Arizona law (A.R.S. 25-403) in determining what type of parenting time schedule is in the best interests of the minor child.  Some of the factors the Court considers are:

  1. The wishes of the parents;
  2. The child’s wishes;
  3. The interaction of the child with each parent, any other siblings and any other person who may affect the child’s best interests;
  4. The child’s adjustment to home, school and community;
  5. The mental and physical health of each person involved in the case;
  6. Which parent is more likely to allow frequent and meaningful contact with the other parent;
  7. Whether one or both parents has been the primary caregiver of the child in the past;
  8. Whether either parent has attempted to use duress or coercion to force the other parent into reaching an agreement regarding custody and/or parenting time;
  9. Whether either parent was convicted of false reporting of child abuse or neglect against the other parent; and
  10. Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse.

The Court will also consider substance abuse issues, criminal convictions and any other conduct of the parents that is contrary to the child’s best interests.

There are a numerous options when it comes to scheduling parenting time.  The Court will look towards the feasibility of a schedule prior to adopting it and consider any strain that a schedule will place on the child.  The distance between the parent’s households can be a factor as well as the parents’ work schedules.  In considering what parenting time schedule is best for a child, the Superior Court of Maricopa County has adopted Parenting Time Guidelines to assist the parents and the Court in making a final determination on what parenting time schedule is appropriate for the child.  However, each family is different and the schedules set forth in the Guideline may not fit each circumstance.  The Maricopa County Parenting Time Guidelines can be accessed through the following link:

http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/sscDocs/pdf/drcvg11h.pdf