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Child Custody in Arizona
If you and your child's other parent are splitting up, you'll want to work with an Arizona child custody attorney to help negotiate a child custody and visitation agreement. Your lawyer can also help you with issues related to Arizona child support.
The Basics of Arizona Child Custody
The Arizona courts prefer to have parents reach mutually agreeable child custody agreements, known in Arizona as a parenting plan. That's because parents are more likely to be satisfied with the custody arrangement and adhere to the plan if they were involved in its creation. But if Arizona parents can't agree to a parenting plan, then the court will create a plan for you.
Your Arizona parenting plan will include:
- Which parent has legal custody. Legal custody determines which parent is responsible for making key life decisions on a child's behalf. In Arizona, parents may have sole legal custody or joint legal custody.
- How parenting time, often known as physical custody and visitation, will be divided between each parent. As part of the parenting plan, you'll determine how holidays, vacations and school breaks will be divided between each parent.
- How parenting time will be handled in the event of long-distance parenting or if one parent relocates. (Under Arizona law, a child can only be relocated more than 100 miles if it's in the child's best interests, and a judge's approval may be necessary.)
When an Arizona judge approves a parenting plan—or must decide on a parenting plan because the parents are unable to reach an agreement—the judge will look at the best interests of the child.
Changing Arizona Child Custody
Any number of life events may require you to change or modify your Arizona parenting plan. Medical issues, a new job or job loss, relocation and remarriage may all prompt the modification of an Arizona parenting plan.
You and your ex, with the assistance of your Arizona child custody lawyers, can negotiate changes to your parenting plan. Or, if you're unable to reach an agreement, your Arizona child custody lawyer can file a written request with the court.
Even if you and your ex agree to the changes, your Arizona child custody attorneys will have to submit the revisions to the court for approval. Changes are only enforceable if the court orders the modifications.
Reasons to Hire Child Custody Lawyers in Arizona
You are not legally required to hire an Arizona custody attorney, but it's strongly recommended. There are a few reasons why you'll want to use a child custody attorney in Arizona to help negotiate your Arizona parenting time and custody agreement, and get the parenting plan approved by the courts.
- Expertise: Child custody attorneys in Arizona have spent years studying the Arizona marital and domestic relations laws, which also address Arizona child custody and child support issues. The law is complex, and if you try to read and understand it yourself, you're prone to making mistakes. (Even lawyers who don't typically do child custody work are likely to hire Arizona custody lawyers to handle their own family law issues, because they lack the specialized knowledge.) Your Arizona custody lawyer will have also worked with countless parents dealing with custody issues just like yours. That experience works to your advantage.
- Even playing field: If your child's other parent has hired an Arizona family law attorney, you'll want to hire one, too. You'll be at a serious disadvantage if you try to represent yourself against a lawyer who's more knowledgeable and experienced with Arizona child custody law. (Although you might be tempted to share an attorney with your child's other parent, know that one lawyer cannot legally represent both of you because it's a conflict of interest.)
- Focus on what's important: Breakups are traumatic for both parents and children. Your kids need as much of your love and affection right now, so they'll be reassured that everything will be OK. When you hire an Arizona family law lawyer, you'll have more free time to spend with your kids to help them through this difficult time.
Find & Hire an Arizona Child Custody Attorney
If you're ready to find and hire an Arizona custody attorney, you've come to the right website. Attorneys.com offers a free service that can quickly connect you with an Arizona custody lawyer in your area. Fill out the short form on this page or call us at 877-913-7222. Then, whether you live in Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa or elsewhere in Arizona, we'll quickly match you with a local lawyer.