Divorce with Children



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Divorce with Children

In Arizona if Parents are divorcing with children under the age of 18 who have not graduated from high school, then the court has jurisdiction over the issues of legal decision making and parenting time. This previously was referred to as legal custody and visitation. There is a presumption or preference in Arizona that children in a divorcing family have on going, frequent and continuing contact with both parents and that both parents share in the decision making.


However, a determination by the court could be made that a parent is unfit or otherwise unable to co-parent and not entitled to equal joint decision making if the parent has a history of:

  • Drug abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Criminal behavior
  • Domestic violence or;
  • Crimes against children.

Typically in Arizona, divorcing parents that are otherwise fit are entitled to equal or joint decision making and parenting time to approximate what it would be if the family was intact.

This doesn’t necessarily mean 50/50 parenting time, but it does provide for substantial continuing contact with both parents. If the parties cannot agree on a parenting time schedule, then that decision is left up to the court. Sometimes the court will use a custody evaluator to make recommendations to the court. Other times, the parties are sent to a parenting conference wherein they will meet with an experienced person to help them resolve their parenting disputes.

Once the divorce has been granted, if the parties are unable to co-parent effectively or communicate, the court may also appoint a parenting coordinator. If one parent has been estranged from the children for a period of time the court may also appoint a therapeutic interventionist to help the intervention or the re-establishing of parenting rights. If a court believes that either parent has denigrated or impeded the child’s access to the other parent the court can award the non offending parent primary custody or decision making or primary parenting time.

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Our team of experienced divorce and child custody attorneys will help you establish your family’s legal decision making and parenting time plan for what is best with regard to your children. Call us today.

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