Ending your marriage might be one of the biggest challenges you will ever face. Navigating through a divorce is painful, but it is even more difficult when child custody issues are involved. Having an experienced Scottsdale family law attorney on your side can help you make sure that you are doing the best for your children in this tough situation.
Contact the lawyers at Scottsdale Family Law to help negotiate the custody arrangements for your children. With more than 60 years of combined experience, our family law attorneys have the knowledge, skills, and expertise you need. To set up an appointment with a member of our team, all you need to do is call 602-279-1900.
One of the biggest mistakes parents make when going through a divorce is to assume they can manage child custody issues on their own. Regardless of how amicable your split has been, agreeing on parenting issues will present a unique set of challenges.
It’s naïve to assume that you and your spouse will be able to work out all the details of a child custody plan unaided. If you want to make sure that you and your child’s rights are fully protected, it is important to seek guidance from an experienced Scottsdale family law attorney. The process of determining child decision-making and parenting time is unfamiliar territory for most people. Here are a few key things you need to know.
Child custody has historically been divided into two separate types: legal custody and physical custody. Although these terms are well known to most people, they are no longer officially used by the Arizona court system. “Legal custody” is now referred to as “legal decision-making.” “Physical custody” is now called “parenting time.”
Legal decision-making often involves important issues such as education, healthcare, personal care, and religious affiliation. In deciding the issue of legal decision-making, the Court will determine which parent has the right to make these major decisions that affect a child’s life.
When a parent is awarded sole legal decision-making, they have the right to make all the major decisions about their child’s upbringing. In many cases, legal decision-making is jointly awarded to both parents, where both parents make these important decisions together.
Parenting time refers to how the child’s time is divided between parents. Without an agreement of the parents, a judge will determine how the parenting time will be divided. In many cases, the Court awards the parties equal parenting time, where a child spends and equal amount of time with each parent. In appropriate cases, one parent is awarded primary physical custody, and the other is the non-custodial parent.
Holidays and special occasions are also included as part of parenting time. Parents will determine in advance how their child will spend important holidays and special events such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, spring break, and summer vacations.
If parents are combative, uncooperative, or unable to agree on parenting issues, the use of a Parenting Coordinator may be helpful. A Parenting Coordinator is a trained professional who can help parents by assisting them with implementing and complying with their legal decision-making and parenting plan orders and helping them resolve conflicts that arise concerning legal decision-making and parenting plans.
The parenting plan acts as a roadmap for parents so they fully understand their rights and responsibilities once their divorce has been finalized. The plan includes details such as each parent’s rights and responsibilities for the personal care of the children and for decisions in areas such as education, health care and religious training, the parenting time schedule, the procedure for parenting time exchanges, the procedures for addressing disputes or alleged breaches of the agreement, the procedure for how parents will communicate with each other about the children, how often the document will be reassessed, etc.
Divorce is hard and you should not do it alone. Trust our experienced family law team to help you navigate through the complexities of your child custody issues. Contact us today to learn how we can help make sure your custody agreement benefits you and your children the best. Call us today at 602-279-1900.