The most emotionally trying issues to resolve in the Arizona divorce process are those which surround any children that resulted from the dissolving marriage. Although you and your spouse have grown distant, it is natural to remain attached to your children and wish to be involved in all aspects of their lives following a divorce. By law, the Arizona court system will do what is best for the child’s overall well-being when deciding upon these matters. The judge in your case will consider several factors when making decisions. To protect your interests and those of your children, seek a representation from a Tucson child custody and support attorney.

Updated Child Custody Laws

In January 2013, the Arizona legislature removed all references to “custody” and replaced them with terms that are better aligned with the values the court strives to uphold. Rather than granting joint or sole custody, the court may grant “legal decision-making” and “parenting time” to parents. Ideally, the court seeks to divide parenting time and legal decision-making equally; however, depending on the specific circumstances of your case, the court may grant one party legal decision-making authority and may limit parenting time.

Arizona courts consider several factors to protect the child’s best interests, including:

  • The child’s past, current, and possible future relationship with each parent.
  • The child’s interaction with his or her parent or parents, siblings, and any others who may significantly affect his or her interests.
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, and the community.
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the other parent.

What is Joint Legal Decision-making or Sole Legal Decision-making?

Joint legal decision-making means that both parents collaboratively make decisions regarding the rearing of their children. This can pertain to decisions about schooling, religious education, healthcare decisions, and more. Sole legal decision-making grants all legal decision-making to one parent, who may make any important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing without consulting the other parent.

Defining “Parenting Time” in Tucson, Arizona

Parenting time is the time you spend with your child as a parent. The time may extend over a few hours or days with your child. Parenting time is allocated by a parenting plan, which is a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each parent after divorce. The state of Arizona finds that it is in the child’s best interests to spend as much time as possible with both parents; however, this is not always practical nor possible. The judge will use his or her discretion based on the facts of the case to determine how parenting time will be divided amongst parents during and after divorce.

Who Pays Child Support?

The new terminology in Arizona family law statutes does not rid of child support; rather, child support is based upon a shared income model. The judge considers both parents’ incomes, the child’s needs, including healthcare, education, and special needs, and which parent spends the most time with the child. To ensure your interests are protected and that you receive the amount your child deserves, secure the representation of a Tucson child support attorney.

The knowledgeable Tucson family lawyers at Karnas Law Firm have represented clients undergoing divorce proceedings for over 50 years and are fully updated on all new child custody and support laws in Arizona. Do not hesitate to contact our law office for a free consultation by calling (520) 571-9700 or contacting us online.