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Phoenix Legal Decision Making & Parenting Time (Child Custody) Attorneys

If you are going through a divorce or have otherwise dissolved the relationship with your co-parent, you may be in need of a child custody order from an Arizona court. An experienced attorney can help you better understand Arizona’s unique approach to custody and parenting time, as well as assist you in the litigation of your claim. With so much at stake there is good reason to seek the advice of a child custody attorney.

Legal Decision Making and Parenting Time Attorneys

What Is Legal Decision-Making & Parenting Time (Child Custody)?

In Arizona, the term “custody” has been replaced with “legal decision-making”. This refers to the parents’ ability to make major decisions about and on behalf of the child. These decisions generally involve education, healthcare, religious upbringing and personal care. The presumption is that both parents should enjoy legal decision-making authority jointly unless the court finds that this arrangement is not in the best interests of the child.

Physical custody or placement is referred to as “parenting time.” This is the time the children are to be with a specific parent who will be responsible for the care of the children, including providing food, clothing, housing, etc. During parenting times, the parent is expected and entitled to make routine decisions concerning the child’s care without consulting the other parent. 

Best Interests of the Child Factors 

In Phoenix as well as throughout Arizona, legal-decision making and parenting time determinations are made in consideration of the child’s best interests. The court is required to consider all factors relating to the child’s well-being, including:

  • The child’s past, present and future relationship with his parents;
  • The interaction and interrelationship between the child, his siblings and extended family members;
  • The child’s adjustment to his home, school and community;
  • The child’s wishes (if age appropriate);
  • The physical and mental health of the child, parents and any other individuals involved;
  • Which parent is more likely to encourage and promote a meaningful relationship with the other parent;
  • Evidence to suggest one parent has intentionally lied to the court in order to cause unnecessary delays;
  • History of domestic violence or child abuse;
  • Evidence of coercion or duress imposed by one parent in order to get the other to consent to a legal decision-making or parenting time agreement;
  • Whether either parent has complied with parenting class requirements; and
  • Whether either parent has made a false report of child abuse or neglect.

Modification of Legal-Decision Making or Parenting Time Orders

As children grow and change, it is not uncommon for parents to seek a modification of a prior legal-decision making or parenting time order. For example, a parent wishing to coach a child’s sports team may need increased parenting time in order to pursue that goal. If you are interested in a modification, you must set forth evidence to show that a change is in the child’s best interests, which is decided in accordance with the factors explained above. Keep in mind that certain changes may only occur after sufficient time has passed unless the Court determines and emergency exists.  Emergency is defined as something that will result in immediate, irreparable physical or emotional harm to the children. 

Contact Our Parenting Time (Child Custody) and Visitation Lawyers Today

For help establishing or modifying child custody or visitation determinations involving your child, we encourage you to contact the experienced attorneys at Cohen Family Law today at 602-714-8898. 

Cohen Family Law services clients through the Phoenix, Arizona area including Mesa, Glendale, Surprise, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Tempe. 



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3411 North 5th Avenue, Suite 306, Phoenix, AZ 85013
| Phone: 602-714-8898

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