The mother of all child custody battles appears to be taking shape out east. As most Arizona readers already know, on June 28 actress Katie Holmes embarked on her own ‘Mission Impossible’ by filing for divorce from actor Tom Cruise. The divorce action cites irreconcilable differences, which may be a colossal understatement if the buzz about a brewing child custody dispute is true.
A mother was recently sentenced to jail for allowing her son to be baptized without his father’s prior consent. The parties addressed child custody in their divorce through a joint agreement referred to as their “Permanent Parenting Plan.” The wording in the agreement was very specific in explaining how both parents must work out agreements concerning their child’s religious upbringing or otherwise resort to a mediator. Divorced parents in Arizona may find themselves surrounded by similar circumstances if they are not careful to adhere to the terms laid out in a divorce decree.
A child custody court order is often a part of a final Arizona divorce agreement when minor children are involved. This document sets out the days that a child lives with each parent. Many times the child custody agreement requires that both parents live in the same state.
Service members in Arizona may be interested in a piece of legislation currently making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would strengthen the child custody rights of members of the military. So far, 63 members of the House Armed Services Committee have endorsed the bill.
In child custody disputes, a family law judge in Arizona and elsewhere will often take into account several factors in deciding what is in the best interests of the child. Currently, one of the factors a judge may use is active-duty deployment. For example, if a service member is about to be deployed overseas, then that could impact their child custody hearing negatively.
A somewhat controversial bill is currently making its way through the Arizona legislature. It addresses child custody in circumstances where a child is born out of wedlock and seeks to change current law which gives a mother full legal custody until paternity is legally established.