Child Custody Determinations
Legal custody in Arizona refers to the responsibility for making major decisions regarding a child’s upbringing, care and welfare. When legal custody is split between both of a child’s parent’s, joint custody has been granted. If, however, legal custody is granted only to one parent, that parent will have primary or sole custody of the child.
Although Arizona laws and courts do not favor one type of custody over another and they are not supposed to make custody decisions based on parents’ gender, custody issues and cases can still be complicated and contentious. As a result, having an experienced attorney – like Scottsdale Custody Lawyer Karen A. Schoenau – on your side, advocating your rights, can be critical to favorably resolving joint custody versus primary custody disputes.Joint Custody Versus Primary Custody: What the Court Considers
Ideally, divorcing parents will agree about how custody and related issues are to be resolved. This, however, is not always possible, and when parents cannot agree on joint custody versus primary custody, it will be up to the family courts to step in and resolve the matter.
When making decisions regarding joint custody versus primary custody, the single most important factor the courts will consider is what is in the best interests of the involved child(ren). In this regard, some of the more specific factors that may be considered can include:
- The child(ren)’s wishes regarding joint custody versus primary custody
- The parent’s wishes regarding the custody split
- The child(ren)’s relationship and interactions with each parent
- The health of each party involved (including whether either parent may have any issues that could impact the health and wellbeing of the child)
- Whether either parent is more (or less) likely to promote meaningful contact with the other parent
- Whether the child would have to adjust to a new school and/or community
- Whether either parent has provided primary care forr the child in the past.
Once a court issues a ruling regarding joint custody versus primary custody, here’s what parents should be aware of:
- Child support obligations – Per Arizona law, when rulings regarding joint custody versus primary custody are made by the court, the court must also issue orders regarding child support. Just because joint custody may have been awarded doesn’t mean there won’t be child support obligations.
- Modifications – It’s possible to alter custody orders in the future if or when the circumstances of either parent may change. To pursue modifications, parents will have to submit petitions to the court.
Do you need help resolving any custody-related issues? If so, you can trust Scottsdale Custody Attorney Karen Schoenau for experienced help, honest answers and effective representation. Since 1987, Karen Schoenau has been committed to helping people favorably resolve their sensitive family law matters, including complex cases related to custody and divorce.
To receive professional advice and learn more about your best options for resolving your custody case, schedule an initial consultation with Attorney Karen Schoenau. You can set up this meeting by calling 480-209-1918 or by emailing us using the contact form.
From her offices based on Scottsdale, Attorney Karen Schoenau represents clients throughout the metropolitan Phoenix area and the state of Arizona, including in Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County, and Gila County.