You are getting ready to file for divorce, but you have children to consider and have concerns about how parenting time will end up working out. That is okay. Worrying about child custody is certainly normal for any parent in Arizona or elsewhere who is in your exact same shoes.
You'd like to think that putting together a child custody arrangement would be fairly simple, but that is not always the case. There are couples who cannot agree on what really is the best living arrangement for their children. This is why the state has specific laws regarding this topic, which can help steer parents in the right direction, or at least give the courts a leg to stand on when it is left up to them to decide.
Types of custody recognized by the state
As is true for most states, Arizona recognizes several different custody arrangements. Currently, those recognized are sole physical, joint physical, sole legal and joint legal custody. Sole physical custody is when the awarding of custody goes to one parent. Joint physical custody, on the other hand, means that both parents will receive parenting time that is fairly evenly split.
When the court awards a parent sole legal custody, it means that he or she is the only parent allowed to make important decisions for his or her children regarding things like medical care, household religion and education -- among a number of other things. When the court awards joint legal custody, both parents will continue to share in such decisions.
Are child custody arrangements permanent?
No. Or at least they do not have to be. It is possible for parents to seek order adjustments as they feel they are necessary. Children who are older may also have the opportunity to request custody changes if they feel doing so will serve them better in the long run.
When setting up a child custody arrangement, the court may ask parents to create a parenting plan. A parenting plan addresses the finer details of a custody arrangement, such as:
- Transportation issues
- Holiday schedules
- Supervision schedule
These plans can be extremely detailed and, just like the custody order itself, are adjustable.
Get the custody order that is best for you and your kids
Making a child custody arrangement that works for you and your children can take time. Regardless of how it ultimately works out in the end, it is possible to seek legal guidance throughout the process to be sure that you have done everything necessary to protect your parental rights and the best interests of your children.