PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN
Child custody can be the most contentious issue in family law. These cases, maybe more so than any others, can have very serious and far-reaching consequences, especially if mishandled. Our top rated child custody attorneys have litigated hundreds of family law cases involving nearly every issue imaginable.
“BEST INTEREST” FACTORS
The “best interests of the children” is a term used frequently throughout child custody cases. Under Arizona law, the best interests of the children is the family court’s most important priority. More specifically, it also may refer to the statutory factors set forth in A.R.S. § 25-403.
Legal decision-making is a component of child custody in Arizona that refers to a parent’s authority to make certain important decisions for a child. Examples include religious, educational, and non-emergency medical treatment. A parent may be awarded joint legal decision-making, where both parents must confer and agree to make decisions for their children; sole legal decision-making, where one parent has authority to make decisions without the other’s input; or a hybrid arrangement, sometimes called final say, where a parent must confer with the other parent but has authority to make the final decision whenever the parents disagree.
Parenting time is the time the child spends with each parent. It is sometimes still referred to as physical custody. Although Arizona law favors frequent and meaningful parenting time with each parent, equal parenting time is not always appropriate or logistically possible. Parenting time can profoundly affect the calculation of child support.
Legal decision-making and parenting time can be modified when there is a substantial and continuing change to material circumstances. That’s a lot of legal jargon, but it basically means that when things that affect the child change, you may be able to modify the child custody orders.
Most child custody attorneys bill hourly. This may be fine in simple, low-conflict cases. But unfortunately this description applies to very few child custody cases. When you pay a family lawyer by the hour, you financially submit to the will and reasonableness of the other parent whose behavior directly affects your expense. Think about your opposing party. Is he or she the type who might deliberately inflate your costs and attorney’s fees? Family law litigants can request an award of attorney’s fees, but it’s never guaranteed. Our transparent and affordable fees provide cost certainty so you never have to worry about how much your next invoice will be.
Whether you need to establish, modify, or enforce legal decision-making and/or parenting time, contact our experienced child custody attorneys for a free consultation.