Parents in Arizona who are getting a divorce might wonder how custody will be decided and about the relationship between custody and child support. There are two kinds of custody: legal and physical custody. The first deals with a parent's right to make important decisions about a child's upbringing, such as what religion the child will practice, or about healthcare. The other deals with how much time the child physically spends in each parent's home.
In the past, divorce often involved children staying with their mother and only seeing their father occasionally. This is generally not true for child custody and visitation schedules today. There is more of an effort to make sure fathers maintain a relationship with their children after divorce, and joint custody is more common. This also means that mothers are less likely to have to take on the role of a single parent.
However, joint physical custody does not necessarily mean there will be no child support. A parent with a higher income might still pay child support to the other parent. There are online tools that can help parents budget together. Parents may be more satisfied if they work together on resolving conflict regarding the child custody schedule and support instead of going to court.
Parents can work out a number of different schedules for custody and visitation, such as the child going back and forth between their homes during the week or alternating weeks with each parent. Older children may want to have input into this schedule. The advantage of having a legally binding agreement for both child custody and support is that parents can ask the court and the office of child support enforcement for assistance if one parent is not following the agreement. However, a parent cannot deny the other parent access to the child because of nonpayment of support.