If you have kids and you get divorced in Arizona, the courts will have to split up your parental rights and responsibilities. Each parent can receive a portion of both legal and physical custody.
Legal custody involves your right to make important decisions about your children, while physical custody involves being present with them and spending time together. Joint custody has become the go-to solution in most modern divorces. Each parent can expect to receive some physical custody so that they can spend time with the kids.
Do you have to ask for legal custody, too, if all you really want is parenting time?
Judges allocate legal custody and physical custody separately
Sometimes, judges enter a blanket ruling that indicates they want parents to split both physical and legal custody in a certain manner. Other times, judges may allocate all of one kind of custody to just one parent. It will always be the best interests of the children that determine how judges divide parental responsibilities.
You may recognize that sharing legal custody could lead to a lot of fights or that your ex, who has always been the more active parent, is better at making these decisions. Even if you don’t ask for legal custody or the judge decides that your ex is the one who should make some major parenting decisions for your kids, that won’t limit your right to shared physical custody.
Arizona state law makes it clear that judges should consider both kinds of custody on their own if awarding sole legal custody to one of the parents for my family. Understanding the different ways the courts can split custody can make it easier for you to plan for your upcoming divorce.