Do Moms Have Priority in Arizona Custody Disputes?

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What the courts consider when resolving custody disputes in Arizona

Mothers do not necessarily have preference over fathers in court when it’s time for the court to resolve disputes regarding parenting time with – and legal decision-making responsibility for – children.

In fact, when parents cannot resolve custody issues, the Arizona family court will enter the picture to help resolve the dispute. And the court will focus on determining what is in the children’s best interests, rather than the specific gender identities of the parents.

Best Interest Factors: How Arizona Courts Resolve Custody Disputes

The specific factors that the court will consider and analyze when it is time to issue custody decisions in Arizona generally include the following:

  • The relationship the children have with each parent
  • Whether either parent has history of abuse, addiction and/or mental health issues
  • Whether either parent is or has been involved in criminal activity
  • Whether either parent has lied to the court during the custody proceedings (Such lies can include, for instance, false allegations of domestic violence or abuse.)
  • The degree to which either or both parents are willing to foster a healthy ongoing relationship with the other parent
  • Whether the children will have to adjust to a new community, as well as the children’s connections/relationships in their current community
  • The children’s preferences (as long as the kids are mature enough to explain these to the court).

So, to returning to answer the question that started this blog, the gender of the parent is NOT a best interest factor that the courts in Arizona will consider when determining how to award custody.

Resolving Custody Disputes in Arizona: More Important Information
  • Parenting time & legal decision-making authority do not have to be divided in the same way – In other words, just because the court may divide parenting time equally, it does not necessarily mean that each parent will have equal authority to make legal decisions on behalf of the child (or vice versa). These two aspects of child custody can be divided in any way the court sees fit, based on the specifics of the situation and the involved parties.
  • Custody orders can be modified in the future – As life circumstances change, modifying custody arrangements may be necessary in the future. For instance, parents may move, may develop new ailments or may remarry, necessitating a change in the custody order. In these cases, it will be necessary to go back to court to request an official modification.
Contact Scottsdale Family Law Attorney Karen A. Schoenau

When you need exceptional representation in an Arizona child custody case, you can rely on Scottsdale Family Law Attorney Karen Schoenau. Since 1987, Karen Schoenau has been committed to helping people resolve their important family law matters, including complex cases related to divorce, custody, paternity and other issues.

To receive professional advice and learn more about how we can help you, 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 drop-down contact form at the top of this page.

From her offices based on Scottsdale, Attorney Karen Schoenau represents clients throughout the metropolitan Scottsdale area, including in Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County, Gila County and throughout the state of Arizona.

Client Reviews
Karen is highly respected in the legal community. She is effective and thorough. Karen just keeps going regardless of the odds.
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Karen was extremely supportive during a very trying time in our lives. She helped me to put things in perspective and think positive when I was overwhelmed. She is very knowledgeable about the laws pertaining to grandparents rights and the rights of the parents and knew how to provide the appropriate laws pertaining to the situation we were in. I am so grateful for her expertise and guidance. She proved to be very aggressive when she needed to be but was also supportive to my and my children. I would recommend her to anyone in a similar situation. Deanna