Mother retained one of our divorce attorneys when she and her children were physically and financially abandoned by Father. When their relationship deteriorated, abruptly left and stopped providing any financial support to Mother or the children. We petitioned for temporary child support and spousal maintenance, pursuant to ARFLP Rule 47. Mother’s relatively young age (40), good health, and ability to work typically might have disqualified her from receiving spousal maintenance under A.R.S. § 25-319, but we argued that the circumstances surrounding Father’s departure necessitated financial support.
Father retained a divorce attorney who counter-petitioned for temporary orders to establish parenting time and legal decision-making. Parenting time is a critical factor in the calculation of Arizona child support, so naturally Father sought to be primary residential parent, to minimize his financial burden. At this time, Mother was uncomfortable with Father’s lifestyle choices. Mother believed Father was couch surfing between his friends’ homes and recreationally using drugs and alcohol. Based on these concerns, we argued that Father’s parenting time should be supervised or severely restricted to protect the children. We also requested that Mother be awarded sole legal decision-making.
We attempted to settle with Father’s attorney, but he insisted on equal parenting time and joint legal decision-making, conditions we believed were contrary to the best interests of the children pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-403.
The judge granted all of our requests. Mother received temporary orders for sole custody (legal decision-making), significant spousal maintenance, and child support. Father’s parenting time was limited to a couple of hours per week, without overnight visits, to protect the children.