Q: What happens if I have to fight for custody of my child?
Sometimes, when people separate or divorce in Phoenix, they are able to amicably work through the necessary steps of dividing their assets, parting ways and moving on with their lives. But when a couple shares children, the break is not as “clean” because the couple will remain tied to each other on some level by co-parenting those children. So, when there are minor children involved, custody and visitation issues can be tricky.
The gold standard by which all matters concerning children of divorce are handled is what is in “the best interest of the children”. In general, the court prefers that both parents share parenting responsibilities as equally as possible. That means sharing child support as well as child custody and visitation–which are now known as “legal decision-making” and “parenting time”, respectively.
But what if one parent wants sole custody or if the parents can’t agree or if there’s a reason one parent should not have custody?
Sometimes, a history of domestic violence against the spouse or the child would be offered as a compelling reason why one parent may claim the other is unfit to be a custodial parent. Or, a parent who is now living with a convicted criminal or abusive person may similarly be denied or lose custody of their child due to that possible threat.
One thing is for sure, the words and actions of both parents in a custody battle will be under a magnifying glass, with each side looking for any evidence that the other is unfit. This can be stressful for the parents who have to constantly be mindful and control everything they say, do, and even post on social media for fear of being judged by it. It can be like living with an invisible judge in the room. Children often tell one parent what the other has said or done, so even within the home, a parent must always be “on”. And since no one is perfect, this can be a stressful burden to bear at times.
Having a skilled Phoenix family law attorney by your side to navigate the complex and emotional road of a custody battle can make all the difference.
If you are contemplating divorce, or need assistance with any child custody or visitation issue, Cohen Family Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation. From our office in Phoenix, we represent families in transition throughout Arizona.