Phoenix Parenting Time Modifications Attorney

Mother smiling with small daughter

Parenting time modifications in Arizona arise when life’s circumstances change, requiring adjustments to existing child custody arrangements. These modifications are essential for maintaining a child’s welfare and ensuring that both parents can continue to fulfill their roles effectively. In Arizona, the law provides a framework for requesting these changes, focusing on the best interests of the child. Understanding and adapting to these legal requirements can be important for families facing significant life transitions.

What Is Parenting Time?

Parenting time, in Arizona’s family law context, refers to the schedule and arrangement for a child to spend time with each parent following a separation or divorce. It’s a key component of child custody agreements, laying out specifics like weekdays, weekends, holidays, and vacation times each parent spends with the child. This concept goes beyond mere scheduling; it’s about maintaining meaningful relationships, ensuring consistent care, and supporting the emotional health of the child. Parenting time arrangements strive to balance the child’s needs with the parents’ circumstances, promoting a stable and nurturing environment for the child’s growth and development.

Reasons You Might Need a Parenting Time Modification

  • Relocation of a Parent: If you or the other parent is moving, especially if it’s a significant distance, a modification may be necessary to maintain a consistent relationship with the child.
  • Change in Employment: New job schedules, including shifts or travel requirements, can necessitate adjustments to the parenting time arrangement.
  • Child’s Educational or Health Needs: Changes in a child’s schooling or health might require a different schedule to better accommodate these needs.
  • Age and Preferences of the Child: As children grow, their needs, activities, and preferences change, which can lead to a need for revised parenting time.
  • Safety Concerns: If there are new safety concerns, such as issues related to a parent’s living situation or behavior, modifying parenting time can be necessary for the child’s well-being.
  • Non-Compliance with Current Arrangement: If one parent consistently fails to adhere to the agreed-upon schedule, a modification might be needed to create a more workable plan.

Legal Criteria for Parenting Time Modifications in Arizona

In Arizona, the legal criteria for modifying parenting time center on the child’s best interests, guided by specific factors outlined in state law. A key requirement is demonstrating a “substantial and continuing change in circumstances” since the last custody order. This change must be significant enough to warrant a review and potential alteration of the existing arrangement. For instance, a parent’s relocation or a major shift in the child’s needs could constitute such a change.

The court also assesses the potential impact of the proposed modification on the child’s physical, emotional, and educational well-being. This includes considering the child’s relationship with each parent, their adjustment to home, school, and community, as well as the mental and physical health of all parties involved. Importantly, the court evaluates each parent’s willingness to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent. 

You must provide clear evidence supporting the need for modification. This might include documentation of changes in employment, relocation plans, medical records, or school reports. The overarching goal is to ensure that any changes serve the best interests of the child.

The Process of Requesting a Modification

  • Gather Documentation: Compile evidence supporting the need for modification, such as changes in employment, relocation details, medical records, or school reports.
  • File a Petition: Submit a petition for modification to the family court in the Arizona county where the original custody order was issued.
  • Serve the Other Parent: Legally notify the other parent of the petition, giving them an opportunity to respond.
  • Mediation or Negotiation: Participate in mediation or negotiation efforts to reach an amicable agreement, if possible.
  • Attend Court Hearings: If an agreement isn’t reached, attend court hearings where both parties can present their case.
  • Court Evaluation: The court evaluates the request based on the child’s best interests, considering all submitted evidence and arguments.
  • Final Decision and Order: The court issues a final decision, which may result in a modified parenting time order.

How We Can Help

At Cohen Family Law, we are dedicated to guiding you through the complexities of parenting time modifications. We understand the sensitivity and importance of these matters, and we are committed to advocating for your family’s best interests. With a deep understanding of Arizona’s family law, we offer personalized assistance tailored to your unique situation, ensuring your voice is heard in court.
If you’re facing the challenge of modifying your parenting time arrangement, reach out to us. Let’s work together to find a solution that best supports you and your child’s needs.