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Understanding custody laws in Arizona

| Mar 19, 2020 | Child Custody |

Custody battles are often exhausting situations as parents work to make sure that they have adequate time with their children. Understanding Arizona laws may go a long way in ensuring that you know how to proceed in your fight for parental rights. 

Arizona follows the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The purpose of this act is to reduce child custody issues across states. This is useful in maintaining custody decisions in varying states. 

For example, if one parent tries to take a child across state lines with hopes that the new state’s court may come to a different custody decision, the UCCJEA ensures the enforcement of the original state’s ruling. 

Legal or physical custody 

Arizona recognizes physical and legal custody laws. Each parent may have physical custody, legal custody or a combination of both. Physical custody refers to the parent who the child resides with for the majority of the time. 

Legal custody determines which parent may have authority over the child’s life decisions. This may include having input about schooling and religious practices. For example, if one parent had legal custody, he or she may choose the religious holidays that a child celebrates. 

Sole or joint custody 

Either parent may have sole physical or legal custody, or the parents may have joint physical or legal custody. When parents share legal custody, they need to come together on how they want the child raised. For example, if one parent wants the child to go to a public school and the other has a private school in mind, they need to make a compromise and find a solution that they both agree on. 

When parents have joint physical custody, it means that the child lives with each parent part of the year. If the court gives one parent sole custody, the other may still have visitations rights and see the child on weekends or certain times of the year.