Even before 2013, when “child custody” became legal decision-making in Arizona, there were a lot of questions that many people had about the process and how it would affect couples who were going through separation and divorce.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about legal decision-making in the state of Arizona.
- 1. What is legal decision-making?
According to Arizona law 25-403.1, legal decision-making is the legal right and responsibility to make all non-emergency legal decisions for a child including education, health care, religion and personal care.
- 2. Do the courts favor mothers over fathers?
No, neither the mother or the father are given preference inherently. The court considers what would be in the best interest of the child, looking at both parents equally.
- 3. What is right of first refusal?
If it is one parent’s scheduled time with their children, but he or she must leave for more than four hours, “right of first refusal” states that he or she will call the other parent first, to see if they would like to spend that time with the children. If the second parent is busy, then the first parent can leave the children with a responsible person of their choice.
- 4. Which parent has the rights to keep the children before the court has made a statement?
If the court has yet to give temporary or permanent orders, then it is up to you and your soon-to-be-ex. Try to make choices based on what is best for your children, and remember that anything you say or do now can be used against you later on.
- 5. Is 50/50 parenting time likely to be awarded if one parent was not as involved before the divorce?
It no longer matters as much who provided primary care for children before the divorce, as many parents adjust their schedule to accommodate for the change after divorce. The judge considers that it may have not been possible for one parent to be as involved as they would have liked, and allows for the possibility that will change.
- 6. What is a parenting conference?
This is a meeting with a neutral third person who can draft reports based on their assessment to give to court. Sometimes this is court ordered, other times the involved parties request it.
- 7. Will the judge grant me sole decision-making?
It is highly unlikely. Judges typically only grant sole decision-making power to one parent if there is a significant history of domestic violence, if your spouse is an alcoholic or drug abuser, or if your spouse continuously acts unreasonably and makes it difficult to co-parent.
Ask your attorney if you have more specific questions regarding legal decision-making in Arizona, and schedule an appointment to get more personalized counsel for your unique circumstances.]]>