Some Arizona parents who are raising their children alone may not understand what it means to be a custodial parent in the eyes of the law. In situations in which one parent is willfully uninvolved and the other parent is raising the child by himself or herself, the courts might not consider the parent who is raising the child alone to be the custodial parent.
Parents who are raising their children alone may want to file for custody rights in court. When they are recognized as the custodial parents by the courts, the parents may then have the right to seek child support from the other parents. Filing petitions for child custody may also help the parents to gain protection under the law. Without these orders, nothing can prevent the other parents from refusing to return the children from visits, for example.
When people do file petitions for determinations of custody and visitation, they may gain peace of mind and a clear delineation of the visitation schedules for their children. Custody determinations also include determinations of how the important decisions about the children's education, religion and medical needs will be handled by the parents and who will have the ability to make those decisions.
Parents who want to file petitions for child custody might want to talk to family law attorneys who are experienced in handling child custody and support matters. The lawyers may help their clients to understand the best interests of the child standard that the courts follow and the factors that may impact the decisions. Lawyers may be able to help their clients to negotiate full agreements rather than fighting the other parents through the court process. In many cases, parents who are able to negotiate their own child custody and visitation agreements are happier with the outcomes.