Law Offices of Matthew S. Schultz, P.C.

Phoenix Arizona Family Law Blog

The basis for determining a parent unfit to raise a child

Most parents in Arizona and throughout the country are fit to raise their children. However, if a parent is deemed to be unfit, he or she could be denied custody or other rights to a son or daughter. In some cases, those rights may be terminated completely, and in the event that both of a child's parents are seen as unfit, he or she could be adopted by another family.

There are many ways in which a parent could fail to meet the best interests of a child standard. For instance, that individual could abuse, neglect or abandon a son or daughter. Those who fail to maintain a sufficient interest in the child could lose custody or other rights to a child on a temporary or permanent basis. States may also deem a parent to be unfit whenever the facts in a case support such a designation.

Dealing with child custody outside of court is possible

Breaking free from your marriage has been on your mind for months now, and you are finally moving forward with the process this year. However, one of your biggest concerns is losing the time you spend with your children. How exactly will you deal with child custody?

Fortunately, in many divorce cases, child custody matters can be resolved outside of court. How? You can do so through informal negotiations or through a dispute resolution process, such as mediation. Here is a glimpse at how you and your spouse can address child custody without having to rely on an Arizona family court.

How old calendars can be helpful in child custody cases

For many Arizona parents of young children, the new year means purchasing a new calendar and throwing out the one from the previous year. However, before they do so, they may want to think twice. It could be helpful if their marriage is coming to an end.

An old calendar can be helpful in custody actions because many details regarding the child's life will need to be presented in court. This will include things like their health history, important events, and school activities. When litigation begins, it is easy to experience brain fog. Instead of people racking their brain trying to remember all of the details, all they will need to do is look at that old calendar.

How international custody disputes are handled

Globalization as well as the opportunity to work and study in other countries and have led to more "international" marriages. If two people from different countries separate after having children, custody issues could be quite complex. Individuals in Arizona may wonder how situations are handled when international custody disputes materialize.

Following a separation, one parent may take their child to another country without permission. These types of international abductions are often done in an attempt to remove the other parent from the child's life. However, the de facto noncustodial parent in such situations may have recourse available.

How child support payments are determined

Parents in Arizona and throughout the country are generally required to provide for a minor child's financial needs. In some cases, this obligation continues until a child graduates from college. Child support amounts are calculated based on a number of factors such as a parent's income, how custody is allocated and state guidelines. Typically, judges can use any factor that may be deemed relevant in a case to ensure that a child support order protects a child's best interest.

Almost any source of income that a parent receives during the year can be considered when crafting a child support order. For instance, a judge could take into account wage income, money won at a casino or regular distributions from a trust or employer pension plan. Any government benefits or gifts that a parent receives could also be considered when determining an individual's ongoing child support obligation.

What parents should know about their custody rights

Parents in Arizona may want or need to transfer custody of their children to another party on a temporary basis. This could be because the parent becomes ill, doesn't have the financial resources to care for them or has just gone through a divorce. Generally speaking, any adult can assume custody of a child, but the transfer must be done with the kid's best interests in mind.

When creating a temporary custody order, it is important to clearly indicate how long it will be in effect. It should also clearly state where the child will live and what rights the parent will have to the child during this period. In most cases, parents are allowed to remain in a child's life even if they relinquish custody. Those who are thinking about giving up custody rights because of a divorce or separation should know that they are less likely to regain custody later.

What to think about when considering divorce

Divorce is something that happens to many marriages, no matter where you live, how much money you make or how old you are. Sometimes, even when both spouses make the effort to work out issues, the best thing is for them to go their separate ways. It is often not an easy choice, but a necessary one.

If you are thinking about divorce, you may wonder whether you've examined every available option to try and make your marriage work. You aren't alone in that thought as many couples across Arizona have the same questions. Fortunately, experts have advice for those who are considering getting divorced, including a few different issues to examine in order to help you decide whether you should stay or go.

When fathers pursue child custody

Fathers in Arizona may be concerned about their rights when it comes time to seek custody of their children in family court. Over the years, many people have come to believe that fathers are likely to suffer from a bias that makes them more likely to have less time to spend with their children or be denied child custody altogether. Many of these beliefs come from historic approaches to custody, although these have changed over the years. Research backs up the idea that children benefit from having a strong relationship with both parents, and fathers who actively pursue custody are even more likely than mothers to successfully receive child custody.

In the past, women were far more apt to provide primary care to their children. Women were less likely to work in jobs outside the home except when absolutely necessary. At the same time, men generally were seen as having less of a role to play in child care except in terms of providing financial support. These types of gender stereotypes excluded women from the workplace and many areas of achievement at the same time that they functioned to keep fathers distant from their children. Mothers almost received custody by default except in circumstances where they were clearly unfit, and fathers were expected to provide support and have minimal visitation.

Illegitimate reasons to deny visitation rights

Co-parenting can be challenging, as many divorced individuals in Arizona are well aware. Divorce can create hurt feelings and resentment. Some spouses use their children as weapons by denying visitation rights. Unless the non-custodial parent is putting the health or well-being of the child at risk, it is assumed that they have the right to visitation.

Resentment or hostility does not give the custodial parent the legal right to use their child as leverage. This behavior is not in the best interests of the child. A custodial parent who uses this tactic could face jail time, fines and even lose custody.

How to successfully raise children after a divorce

Every parent in Arizona wants their children to thrive. However, a divorce can really throw a wrench into the system. As the parents try to raise their children between two separate households, many issues could arise. Here are a few things parents can do to successfully raise their kids after a divorce.

Children of divorce often feel a conflict as far as their loyalty is concerned. That's why each parent should be fully supportive of the child's relationship with the other parent.

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