What Are the Most Important Factors in Child Custody in AZ?
The most important decision you’ll make during your divorce is child custody. Both parents want to spend time with their kids. Neither parent wants to voluntarily surrender custody. However, you have to be realistic. The kids should stay with the parent who is able to take care of them. If you work full-time, it may not be possible for you to have primary custody. Your Arizona divorce attorney will have to negotiate with your spouse’s lawyer to resolve this issue. Ideally, the two of you can come to an agreement that’s fair for both of you. If that isn’t possible, then the court will order you to go to mediation.
If you’re not able to resolve the issue of custody, the judge will do it for you. Just keep in mind – the court is only concerned with the best interests of the children. They don’t care what you want or how much child support you’ll have to pay. They just want to make sure the kids get the best care possible. If you’re dealing with a child custody issue right now, you should call and talk to an Arizona divorce attorney.
The Judge Will Look at Which Parent Works More Hours
One thing the judge must look at is how many hours the parents work. If you’re gone until evening most days, the judge isn’t going to appoint you the primary caretaker. If your spouse has been a stay-at-home parent throughout the marriage, they’ll probably be awarded primary custody.
Just because someone is awarded custody, that doesn’t mean the other parent has no rights. You’ll still have legal custody of the children. You just won’t be the parent of primary residence. You’ll likely get the kids every other weekend and one night a week. You may get extra time in the summer or around the holidays. The court just must make sure the kids are living with the parent who is in the best position to care for them.
Who Has Been the Primary Caretaker Up Until This Point?
The court is always going to look at who has been the primary caretaker up until the divorce. The judge isn’t going to want to disrupt your children’s schedule. It makes the most sense for them to keep their old routines. This means that the court will award primary custody to the parent who has been taking care of the kids prior to the divorce.
Do Any of the Children Need Special Care?
One other thing the court must consider is whether any of your children need special care. Suppose one of your children has a medical condition that requires constant supervision. If you’re working full-time, you won’t be able to provide this care. Your spouse will likely be awarded custody just so that they can take care of your special needs child.
The Kids Should Stay in the Same School System
A special consideration may arise if you plan on moving out of your child’s current school district. The court isn’t going to want to pull the kids from their school. Their lives will already be disrupted enough by the divorce. They shouldn’t have to leave their friends and teachers too.
Call an Experienced Arizona Divorce Attorney Today
If you’re in the midst of a divorce and need to resolve child custody issues, call our office immediately. Talk to one of our experienced Arizona divorce attorneys right away. Once the court decides on custody, it’s hard to get it changed. There’s simply too much at stake to try to handle this on your own.