How To Properly Handle a Custody Dispute In Arizona
If your relationship with the parent of your child doesn’t work, chances are that you will need a custody plan in place to create an official guide of how parenting time and legal decision making will work. Some couples that split are able to work out such an arrangement amicably. Others aren’t so lucky.
Read on to learn more about how to best handle a custody dispute in Arizona, then call our firm for your free consultation if you have additional questions.
Don’t Buy Into Any Assumptions About Arizona Custody Law
Many people who are about to begin a custody battle automatically assume that the mother will be awarded primary custody, while the father will get one or two weekends per month with the child. This actually isn’t the truth. Arizona family courts assume that it is in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents, which means spending equal or close to equal amounts of time with each parent. The courts also assume that it is best for both parents to have legal custody, also known as legal decision making, of the child. Of course, the courts will deviate from these preferences if one parent is shown to be incapable of being a responsible parent. If your ex tells you not to bother with a custody battle because you will automatically lose, consult with an Arizona family law attorney to learn more about your rights.
Avoid Speaking Negatively About The Other Parent In Front Of Your Child
Breakups and divorces of parents are painful for a child to experience. Talking trash about your ex may be cathartic, but will likely only cause your child distress. If you eventually cause your child to hold erroneous beliefs about the other parent, they may have a case for parental alienation. This is essentially interference with the child’s relationship with the other parent. If you are found by the courts to have committed parental alienation, they may change your custody plan to reflect more custody for the parent who didn’t commit parental alienation. Instead, you should find a trusted friend, relative, or mental health counselor with whom to discuss your relationship issues. If you hire a family law attorney, you will have many opportunities to vent about your ex to them.
Consider Supervised Custody Transfers If You & The Other Parent Can’t Be Civil For Pick Ups & Drop Offs
Watching you and your ex get into arguments during custody transfers can be traumatic for your child. When one or both parents can’t keep their cool in front of their child, supervised custody transfers may be beneficial. Supervised custody transfers are separate from supervised visitation. You can hire a neutral third party agency with a custody transfer center to host these exchanges. Depending on your circumstances, one or both parents may be ordered to pay for these services.
Don’t Post Anything On Social Media About Your Custody Dispute
Especially if your social circle has questions about what’s going on in your custody case, it may be tempting to simply share this information through social media. Or, you may simply want to denigrate your ex online. This is rarely a sound decision. It is extremely easy for your ex or their attorney to screenshot these kinds of posts and show them to the judge assigned to your case. Keep your business your own, and stay off social media as much as possible when you’re going through a custody dispute.
Get Creative If One Parent Lives Out Of State Or Has a Difficult Schedule
While courts prefer to place the child with each parent equally, this isn’t always feasible. One parent may move out of state for work or other reasons, be deployed in the military, etc. Whatever the reason that you live in a different state from your child, a 50/50 custody split probably won’t work for your situation. Often, summer vacations with the out-of-state parent along with other holidays and breaks create an opportunity for that parent to have a meaningful relationship with the child. You can also arrange for the out-of-state parent to come back and have visitation with the child, as opposed to the child being the one to travel for visits. This can also be useful when the child is too young to travel alone. If you are struggling to find a custody arrangement that works for your situation, you should consult with an Arizona family law attorney for guidance.
Remember That Custody Modifications Are Difficult To Obtain
Many parents may cede on custody issues that are important to them just to speed up the process, avoid trial, and save on attorney’s fees. However, it isn’t as simple as you may think to obtain a custody modification. First of all, a custody modification can only be granted if at least 12 months have passed since the last custody orders were issued. Second, family law judges are reluctant to overturn their own orders, and will only grant a modification if there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. What you consider substantial and what the judge considers substantial can be two entirely different things. You could end up wasting thousands of dollars (as well as several hours of your time) pursuing a custody modification with it likely being denied. However, there is no time limit for a judge to hear an emergency modification hearing if the child is in danger.
Hire a Seasoned Family Law Attorney To Represent You In Your Custody Matter
Many people enter legal disputes with a do-it-yourself attitude. Unless you have some type of legal background or education, this often ends up being far more complex than anticipated. While you will save money in the short term, you may end up losing priceless time with your child. This could also affect how much child support you need to pay, costing you more in the long term. Plus, if your ex has hired an attorney, you will automatically be at a disadvantage in your case. An experienced family lawyer can help you get the results you want the first time and in an expedient manner. Your attorney may also be able to negotiate an out-of-court agreement so that you can avoid trial. But hiring a great family law attorney doesn’t have to be as expensive as you may assume. For high quality, low cost family representation, call our firm today for your free consultation. This is your opportunity to learn more about your rights under Arizona law, as well as to receive an affordable quote with payment options to fit your budget. Call or use our online form to get started today.
Contact Our Phoenix Divorce Attorneys For Assistance
For high quality, low cost family representation, call our firm today for your free consultation. This is your opportunity to learn more about your rights under Arizona law, as well as to receive an affordable quote with payment options to fit your budget. Call or use our online form to get started today.
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