Parenting Time and Legal Decision Making

Children Are Our Greatest Assets

Perhaps no other issue during a divorce animates both spouses quite like child custody. The thought of seeing your child less than you do now can be unsettling. Similarly, you might not think your spouse deserves to see your child more than you do. Indeed, child custody is often a contentious topic in Arizona divorces. Here are some important things to know. 

There Are Two Types of Custody

When people speak about child custody, there are actually two types: physical and legal. In Arizona, these are called parenting time and legal decision making, respectively. Parenting time spells out the living arrangements for children of co-parents, and legal decision making has to do with making non-emergency legal decisions for children. These decisions might involve a child’s religious upbringing, education, and health care matters. 

The full custody arrangements for Arizona children (physical and legal) are usually put together in a parenting plan

Two MORE Types of Custody

Each co-parent can either have joint custody or sole custody when it comes to parenting time and decision making. Co-parents with joint parenting time may not evenly split time with their children, but the children will spend a substantial amount of time with both parents. On the other hand, sole parenting time means that children spend the vast majority (or all) of their time with one parent. 

The same goes for legal decision making. Sole legal custody is less common than sole physical custody in Arizona, but judges do occasionally order it. Sometimes, one parent will get to make decisions about one part of a child’s life while the other parent gets input on other aspects. 

Going into a child custody case in Arizona, one spouse does not have any advantage over the other. There is a legal presumption that both parents should have physical and legal custody over their children. Ultimately, though, judges are required to rule in the best interests of the child, which is an important legal concept in family law. 

Let Us Be Your Guide

Going into a child custody battle should not be done without experienced legal counsel by your side. Our team knows how emotional these matters can be. Contact us today to see how we can help.