Child custody is the term legal professionals use to define the relationship between a child and his or her parents or legal guardians. It’s almost used exclusively within the context of divorce and separation to describe how both parents should physically care for and visit with their child or children.

There are a few custody arrangement types. Therefore it is helpful for parents dealing with custody issues to understand the options that may be available to them. Each type carries different implications, so getting it right is critical to the success of the relationship you share with your child and your ex.

However, speaking with a child custody attorney in Phoenix is best if you have specific questions. You can contact DeShon Laraye & Pullen PLC for an initial custody arrangement evaluation. Schedule yours today by calling (602) 461-7818 or submitting a message via our online contact form.

No matter what your family’s structure is, deciding upon a child custody arrangement that acts in the best interest of your child is a critical first step toward living life under the new norm.

Here are the four types of child custody arrangements in Arizona that may help you and your family:

1. Legal Custody

Legal custody is the doctrine that serves as the basis of parental rights and responsibilities. It is the purest form of child custody from a legal standpoint since they are rights afforded to all parents regardless of arrangement type.

Legal custody gives you the authority to participate and make decisions based on education matters, medical care, and religious issues. In short, every parent has legal custody, whether or not they have sole or joint custody.

2. Physical Custody

Physical custody is a designation reserved for parents who provide care and support to the child daily. Also known as residential custody, it is a form of custody that describes with whom the child will live.

A physical custody arrangement can be awarded solely or jointly. We examine these two sub-arrangements in closer detail below.

3. Sole Custody

Sole custody is when the courts assign the responsibility and care over a child to a single parent. The parent with sole custody is sometimes referred to as the custodial parent, while the parent who has visitation rights is known as the non-custodial parent.

The sole custody arrangement is most common since it affords the non-custodial parent an opportunity to still visit with his or her children without interrupting the consistency of schooling and home life that children need to thrive.

4. Joint Custody

Sometimes called shared custody or shared parenting, joint custody is when the child’s full-time living arrangements are divided between parents using a method of percentage.

For instance, a court may award a joint custody agreement using a 50-50 split. However, the actual rate used varies according the what is in the best interests of the child.

Joint custody arrangements are more challenging in terms of a court ruling. There is a ton of consideration on behalf of the family court judge assigned to your case.

It’s possible that receiving joint custody might not even be on the table if he or she feels that it is not conducive to your child’s well-being.

Ultimately, your options for joint custody include working with your ex, making a request to the court, and hiring a child custody lawyer in Phoenix to help you make the best possible case. Elements that a judge may ponder may include your child’s cognitive abilities, parental work schedules, child support needs, education needs, and economic capacity of both parents to manage this arrangement successfully.

An agreement that values joint custody arrangements is applauded for their child-centric approach. However, opponents of them say that the child does not have adequate access to consistency, which does not work for every child or family type.

How a Phoenix Child Custody Lawyer Can Help

Providing for and protecting your children is a top priority as it should be. If you are concerned about child custody issues as a married or unmarried person, you have options.

Moreover, you have rights that deserve protection, as well. When you hire a licensed Arizona family law attorney, you are retaining peace-of-mind in knowing that you are affording you and your family the best possible chance of moving forward in life.

Discuss Your Options at an Initial Case Review with DeShon Laraye & Pullen PLC

At DeShon Laraye & Pullen PLC, we know how to navigate the complexities that surround child custody issues skillfully. You don’t have to face the court or your ex alone in court. Contact one of our child custody lawyers in Phoenix for an initial case review. You can schedule a meeting with our team by calling (602) 461-7818 or sending us a message via our online request form.

Co-parenting requires good communication and preparation, particularly if the parents don’t live together. Custody agreements between two parents spell out important information regarding the time that each parent is entitled to have with the child. However, many parents forget to consult this agreement—or the other parent—when making vacation plans. Below we discuss how to include your child in your vacation plans without violating your custody agreement.

The Importance of Abiding by the Terms of Your Custody Agreement

According to Arizona law, if you violate any of the terms of your custody order, including conditions regarding parenting time or visitation, the court may legally do the following:

  • Find you in contempt of court
  • Order visitation or parenting time for the other parent to make up for the time missed due to your violation
  • Order you to complete parenting education courses at your own expense
  • Order family counseling at your own expense
  • Order civil penalties of up to $100 for each violation
  • Order both parents to attend mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution at your expense
  • Make any other order that’s in accordance with the best interest of the child legal standard
  • Hold a hearing to review the noncompliance with the visitation or parenting time order
  • Require the violating parent to cover any court fees incurred by the non-violating parent associated with the review of noncompliance order

Does the Vacation Fall Within Your Scheduled Parenting Time?

Vacation time is an important component of your custody agreement, and courts generally favor agreements that provide children with the opportunity to spend quality time with each parent away from the day-to-day routines of work and school. Because of this, your custody agreement likely has provisions within it as to how much vacation time you’re entitled to have with your child during the summer. Your agreement may clearly state the exact dates as to when each party may take vacation time, or it may require you to coordinate and schedule that time with the other parent well in advance of any vacation.

Although courts often hold the view that vacation time takes precedence over regular parenting time, whenever possible, you should try to plan your vacation within your scheduled parenting time. In general, unless your agreement includes a specific time period for notice, you should let the other parent know thirty days in advance of the dates of your planned vacation. If your vacation plans infringe on the other parent’s parenting time, always be sure to discuss options for making up the regularly scheduled parenting time that the other parent will miss out on due to your vacation.

Traveling out of State? Inform the Other Parent First

Many custody agreements spell out whether one parent must notify the other parent of out-of-state travel plans. However, even if your agreement doesn’t specifically discuss out-of-state travel notice, it is a good idea to discuss any planned out-of-state travel with your child’s other parent well in advance of any planned vacation. During this discussion, you should agree to some specific terms of the out-of-state vacation; it’s generally a good idea to get such agreements in writing, with each parent having a copy of what he or she is agreeing to when it comes to traveling out of state for vacations.

When planning a vacation with your child, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Don’t plan an out-of-state vacation that will result in your child missing an important day for the co-parent, such as the co-parent’s or another close family member’s birthday.
  • While planning the vacation, you should set aside times for your child to contact the other parent while out of town, as this helps your child and the other parent feel connected to one another, even while you’re away on an out-of-state vacation.

Always Share the Details of Your Vacation With the Other Parent

As discussed above, court-ordered parenting plans often include a requirement that one parent notifies the other parent of any travel plans. However, even if your agreement doesn’t include this provision, it’s a good idea to provide notice anyway. While no divorced parent wants to be micromanaged by his or her former spouse, one very important reason why your co-parent should be informed of where you’re going and how to reach you is in case an emergency occurs at home, and the other parent needs to contact you or your child; he or she must have the ability to reach you. Likewise, if you or your child has an emergency that requires you to contact the other parent, he or she should at least have an idea beforehand as to where you are. This is especially important when you and the other parent share legal responsibility for the child and for decision-making regarding your child’s medical care.

The following information is helpful for the other parent, and will be helpful for you as well when the other parent takes a vacation with the child:

  • Where are you going and what activities will you be doing?
  • When will you return?
  • How are you getting there? If you’re planning to fly or take a train, provide information about the airline or train carrier, the flight or train number, and the travel schedule.
  • Where are you staying? Include an address or a phone number.
  • Who are you traveling with? Include a contact number for another adult who will know where you are and be in contact with you.

Should You Modify Your Custody Agreement?

Custody agreements should reflect the best interests of your child at the time of issuance. However, as time passes, you and the other parent may find that the agreement should change to reflect your child’s growth in both maturity and development. Vacation time is often one aspect of an agreement that you may want to modify as your child becomes older. While it may not be advisable for you to take an infant out of town for two weeks, taking a 15-year-old out of state to enjoy a summer vacation with you is a different matter.

If you feel a need to modify your custody order, an experienced family law attorney can guide you through that process. Make sure you consult with one before taking any actions that could jeopardize your custody rights.

What does it mean to have custody of a child as opposed to serving as guardian for that child when he or she becomes an adult? On the face of it, this might seem like a relatively simple question to answer.

In Minnesota, these two legal terms represent what amount to competing fronts. And, just as colliding hot and cold fronts make for severe weather, these competing legal fronts create rough seas for families of divorce because of certain generalities in the law.

When a grandparent takes over custody of their children’s children, the circumstances surrounding the change are usually dire. Oftentimes, the loss of their own children who were parents while they were alive forces grandparents to step up. On other occasions, an unsafe household require that grandchildren be put into a more secure and nurturing environment.

Grandparents raising their grandchildren are becoming a growing segment of the population, regardless of the reasons surrounding the change.Eleven percent of grandparents assume custody due to the death of one or both parents of their grandchildren.Forty percent of children came from households where at least one parent was suffering from substance abuse
Twenty-eight percent of children left their parents’ homes over neglect, abuse or abandonment

Updating Arizona’s laws to reflect same-sex couples’ rights to marry has been slow in coming. The language reflects a different time with references to husbands, fathers, and even gestation periods.

A recent ruling by the state’s Supreme Court gave the effort a much-needed boost.

After their 2008 marriage in California, Kimberly and Suzan McLaughlin made Arizona their home. As they began their new life, they decided to have a child through an anonymous sperm donor. Kimberly carried the child and the couple had a son in 2011. Suzan stayed at home with the baby while Kimberly resumed her career as a physician.

While children have a voice in their parents’ divorce, their “best interests” revolve around custody and visitation matters. They benefit from child support. However, strict, statutory calculations dictate the specific amount of money set aside to provide for their basic needs.

Historically, money for child support goes to the custodial parent to pay for necessities, not the children. However, a recent landmark court ruling blazed a new trail where finances necessary for post-secondary education went directly to the son of divorced parents.

While Ward Cleaver, Mike Brady and other television fathers served as role models, their specific roles involved taking a smaller role in the lives of their children. They were sole providers, choosing to work while their wives served as caregivers.

The traditional roles of fathers, particularly those that are divorced, have evolved. More and more are taking a hands-on approach to raising their children. Yet, court-ordered child custody agreements have not kept pace.

Statistics reveal that 80 percent of cases award full physical custody of children to mothers. Not accounting for orders protecting children from abusive and neglectful fathers, the decisions are very close to being one-sided

Before their divorce in 2014, Mandy and Drake Brooks conceived three children through in-vitro fertilization. During the IVF process, the couple produced six additional embryos that are currently in cryo-storage.

Those embryos are a major point of contention in the Rooks’ marital dissolution. Mandy wants to preserve the embryos for possible use in the future. Her husband wants them destroyed. Their agreement with the fertility clinic explicitly states that the courts would make the decision if the spouses could not find agreement as part of their divorce.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, and Steve Harvey and Marjorie Bridges have made it work so far. On the other hand, Brangelina and the Jenners failed to fare as well under the brightest of Hollywood spotlights.

Getting life back on track is important for any divorced parent moving on following a divorce. Over time, many ex-spouses choose the track of remarrying. Those new relationships often include a new spouse with children from a previous marriage or relationship.

In past generations, it was nearly always presumed that custody of children would be awarded to their mother in a divorce. In fact, many family scenarios involved fathers who spent most of their time “at the office” and rarely interacted with their families at home. Nowadays, however, paternity issues are quite different, and many fathers in Arizona and elsewhere wish to maintain active roles in their children’s lives; in fact, some pursue full or shared custody in court.

The court makes final decisions regarding custody, visitation and support. However, most judges take parents’ comments into consideration along with several other regulating factors. For instance, ages of children, how much time each parent spent with children prior to divorce, employment status and specific needs of children are other issues that may affect the court’s ultimate ruling.

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