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How Does The Court Decide Custody Matters In Arizona?

There is a statute that says the court has to consider 11 things when dealing with custody matters or parenting time matters. The court has to consider things that could affect the child’s best interests, like how well they adjust to the home, school and community, the nature of their past, present and future relationships, the relationship between the child and siblings, and the relationship between the child and their parents, among other things. In making the determination under the statute the court will always consider the best interests of the child.

There are other factors involved. If the child is old enough, he or she could be interviewed about his or her wishes. The court will consider the physical and mental health of everybody. The court will also consider which parent’s going to allow frequent, meaningful and continued contact with the other parent. The court wants to make sure that the primary residential parent is not going to restrict the other parent’s parenting time. More importantly, the court will want to make sure that the child will not be prevented from seeing the other parent. They want a primary residential parent who is going to allow and promote contact between the child and the other parent. The court will consider whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay or increase in the cost of litigation. The court will also consider whether or not there has been past domestic violence, whether or not parenting classes have been completed, and whether or not there has been any parental coercion. The court will then consider whether a parent was convicted of an active false reporting of child abuse or neglect. Basically, those are the factors the court has to work through.

There are other pieces of that statute that come into play when they determine sole or joint legal decision-making parenting time. Another thing that will affect one parent’s parenting time is domestic violence by itself. Domestic violence is like alcohol. The court can restrict parenting time or suspend it until the domestic violence issues have been worked through. There is a statute that gives the person time to work through the domestic violence issues and prove to the court that it won’t happen again, that they have taken steps to prevent it, that they are taking classes, and that they are being counseled. Domestic violence, alcohol and/or drugs can interfere with a parent’s parenting time.

Is There Any Age Where A Child Can Decide Who They Want To Live With In Arizona?

Yes, one of the factors that the court considers in making a determination regarding parenting time under the statute is the child’s wishes. The court will consider the child’s wishes regarding parenting time. The parenting time determination includes which parent the child would rather reside with and how much time they want to spend with a parent. In Arizona, the child’s wishes are considered once they turn 12 years old. There is a statute that says the court can interview a child about their wishes with regard to the parenting time decision. I have seen judges interview the kids, but it’s pretty rare. In most cases, the judge will ask the court affiliated Conciliation Court interviewer to take care of the interview with the child, then submit a report to the judge.

For more information on Determining Parenting Time In Arizona, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (520) 360-4292 today.

Chris Caine, Esq.

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