Arizona Family Law Attorney David Cantor explains the new parenting time custody law in Arizona for 2013:
New laws have been recently put in place in the state of Arizona. These laws will have a large effect on parents’ decision-making authority, as well as the amount of time they can spend with their children. The term “Joint Custody / Sole Custody” has been replaced with “Joint / Sole Legal Decision-Making” under Arizona law. The fact that the term changed doesn’t change the principal outcome, which is making decisions related to medical, religious and educational issues for the children. Rather, Arizona has decided to recognize a presumption that offering the parents Joint Legal Decision-Making will be in the best interests of their children.
This allows both the mother and father to have an involvement in major decisions that will affect the child’s life. Furthermore, a greater burden of proof has been set if one parent alleges that this joint decision-making will not be in the child’s best interest. Fathers will now have the same ability to be involved in their child’s life as mothers.
When setting parenting time, courts in the State of Arizona will now use the presumption that offering both parents equal time with their children will be in the best interest of these minor children. This is certainly welcome news for fathers, many of who believed that courts in Arizona were biased towards mothers when it comes to issues related to child custody and parenting time. Under the new changes in legislation, courts will no longer be able to presume that younger children, like infants and toddlers will be better off being under the mother’s care due to their needs and young age. Now, both parents will be able to spend a large amount of time with their children. If one party argues that the court should reduce the other parent’s time with their children, it will be far more difficult for them to overcome the presumption on equal parenting time.
These changes don’t mean that equal decision-making authority plus parenting time will be awarded to both parents in each case. If there are serious issues, such as ongoing alcohol or drug abuse, domestic violence, etc., than the courts can consider the best interests of the children to create a parenting plan which will address specific issues brought forth in the case. This can also happen in cases where both parents sharing equal time isn’t possible due to the fact that they live a large distance apart.
If you would like to know more about these changes in the law, or you have certain questions about them, an experienced attorney can provide you with much needed help. Free legal consultations are given by the Cantor Law Group, where you can talk about matters that are specific to your case and learn important information. If anything about the new custody laws in Arizona is unclear, give us a call at 602-254-8880 or send us a confidential email to discuss your case.