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Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix custody’

Understanding Child Custody

Posted on: March 28th, 2013 by Scott Law

To understand your child custody options, you first need to familiarize yourself with legal terminology used by lawyers. According to Arizona child custody laws, there are two types of child custody one can have (1) physical custody, and (2) legal custody. Let us look at these in some detail.

Physical custody

This is also known as parenting time as it refers to the person who has the majority of the parenting time with the minor children. Physical custody can be further explained as follows:

Joint physical custody: This is also known as shared custody. Here, the children spend a certain number of days in a week (or year) with one parent and the remaining days with the other. The time can be divided almost equally between the parents.

Sole physical custody: In this situation, the child primarily resides with one parent. The other parent may have visitation rights, which can be supervised, unsupervised, and involve visits on a less frequent basis than in a joint or equal custody situation.

Bird’s nest custody: In this situation, the children do not move around to be with parents. Instead, the parents are expected to visit the children according to the time allotted to each of them. The mother may reside with children for the first few days and the father may then come in for the remaining days.  This allows the children to maintain a steady residence and enjoy the familiar surroundings with both parents.

Legal custody:

First, in Arizona, child custody is now referred to by the courts as “Legal Decision-Making.”  This deals with the legal authority that enables the parents to make decisions concerning their children such as education, non-emergency medical treatments, and religious upbringing. Legal custody is further classified as follows:

Sole legal custody: If one of the parents has the sole legal custody/sole legal decision-making authority, he/she becomes the only person who has the authority to make major decisions concerning the child.

Joint legal custody: Here both parents have the authority to make major decisions. A parent who has joint legal custody need not necessarily have joint physical custody.

It is wise to hire an expert attorney to decide between joint vs sole custody so that you can live with the decision comfortably both now and in the future.

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.

Helpful Websites for Co-Parenting.

Posted on: January 10th, 2013 by Scott Law

We commonly rely on the internet for work, school, entertainment, and to keep in touch with friends and family.  When going through a divorce in Arizona or a child custody case, why not look to the internet to assist in co-parenting with your Ex?  There are many sites that provide tools for parents to assist with the sometimes difficult task of co-parenting.  Many of these sites also provide tools for divorce attorneys and custody attorneys to review communication and interact with the family.  Some of the tools available to parents on websites for co-parenting are:

  1. A shared calendar to coordinate any parenting time schedule or child visitation schedule.
  2. The ability to request changes to a parenting time or visitation schedule or to request a day swap.
  3. An expense log to keep accurate records and to allow for prompt payment of shared expenses.
  4. Stored information banks to keep up to date contact information on the child’s doctors, teachers, extracurricular activity providers, emergency contacts and to ensure that both parties have easy access to accurate immunization and health records for the child.
  5. Message boards for effective communication between parents and other family members.

At Scott Law Offices, we believe that communication is key.  These internet resources may provide many parents of divorce with a more simple, effective and low-conflict way of co-parenting.  Here are a few of the sites:

  1. Familywizard.com
  2. Jointparents.com
  3. Sharekids.com
  4. Parentingtime.net

For more information on Divorce, Custody or Visitation in Arizona, contact Scott Law Offices for your free consultation with a Phoenix Divorce Attorney.

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.

The Confusion About Child Custody

Posted on: November 5th, 2012 by Scott Law

Child custody has proven to be one of the most confusing and misunderstood areas of family law for people facing a Phoenix custody or divorce case.  So, what does the term “custody” mean?  Most individuals seeking the advice of a Phoenix family law attorney use this term to explain who they desire their children to physically reside with.  For example, a person wanting equal parenting time may often refer to this as having “joint custody.”  Or, someone who feels that the other parent should have no parenting time will refer this as “sole custody.”  What is important to understand is that when a court in Maricopa County speaks about custody, they are referring to each parent’s ability to make legal decisions regarding their children.  So, a person having sole custody would have the sole right to make important legal decisions with regard to the children.  Legal decisions include, but are not limited to, education, medical care and religion.  A person having joint custody would have an equal right to be a part of making these important decisions for the children.  That means that both parents would have to be consulted before these decisions are made and agree upon those decisions.

The court has the ability to add various specific terms into the final orders and to specify which parent has the final authority in making decisions regarding the children.  A Phoenix custody attorney can assist in exploring these options to ensure that the proper court relief is requested.  For more information on custody in Phoenix contact Scott Law Offices.