ARIZONA FAMILY LEGAL SERVICES
Family Law Parenting Plan
The thought of separating from a significant other is scary. There are so many steps that need taken. Not only to separate the current life of each person, but to separate the belongings, assets and even the living objects that are currently shared, and even fought over more diligently than money. That is because children are one of a kind and parents invest a lot of time and effort into raising a child.
When parents are married and decide to separate permanently they usually file for divorce. Divorce can become a very lengthy and expensive procedure if the other party contests to what one petitions to, such as who gets to keep the car, house and children. And of course, who will pay for these items that need maintained.
Common Issues with Family Law Parenting Time in Arizona
That is where separating with children can become tricky. When filing a divorce, the court will have the options to file paperwork for joint custody, child support, or sole custody if the person petitioning for divorce request it. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, studies have found that if the parents can communicate without too many issues that joint custody seems to be the best choice for parents and children. They found this to be true by seeing the difference in involvement with parents that had joint custody compared to those that had no custody, whether it be financially by providing child support, or emotionally by engaging in the child’s life.
What is best for a child when the parents separate
With the legislatures coming to a broad agreement on what is best for a child when the parents separate, it puts people that want sole custody in a harder position. Not only do they have to fill out the paperwork properly to ensure they are the sole custodians, but they must prove to the court why they deserve the sole custody of the child. Courts don’t like to separate parents and children on the sole basis of the parents disagreeing. Even when there is domestic violence involved, parenting is important so as long as there isn’t any violence directed toward the children, the court’s ultimate goal will be for both parents to have custody and parenting rights.
What about the couples that aren’t married?
Children are born to couples that haven’t been married, or sometimes born to those that do not even know each other. This puts the parent’s in a tight situation. The mother usually has sole custody in these situations. This makes visitation harder on new fathers that do not want to be involved with the new mother of their child but want to be involved as a father to their offspring. For fathers that are on a limited income it is challenging to come up with the money for the filing fees to petition for joint custody and parenting time. With the request most resentful ex-girlfriends will then demand the maximum amount of child support and use the child as leverage to achieve what they are seeking from the child’s father.
Fathers aren’t automatically responsible for child support. If the father spends more time with the child than the mother, then the opposite financial expectations are valid.
Children can have a fulfilling life with both parents and avoid court paperwork if the parents can work together and agree on parenting schedules, child support, decision making for the child’s direct life- religion, school district, medical procedure for the 18 years of the child’s adolescent life. Find out about required parenting classes in Arizona.
Conclusion to Family Law Parenting Time and Plan
Unfortunately, this seems to be more of a happy dream than an American reality. Many parents start out trying to work together and have some mediocre parenting plan in place that they both follow until one parent does something the other disapproves of such as dating again. This can open up a new complication and intimidate a single parent. These are times when hiring an attorney to begin with will save a whirlwind of confusion and emotions later down the road.
A Look at an Arizona Parenting Plan and Child Visitization
Arizonans considering a divorce and those in the midst of a divorce are likely wondering what their son or daughter’s living arrangement will be like in the months and years ahead. There is also the matter of how the parents will make decisions on behalf of their offspring. Arizona law mandates divorcing couples who desire joint custody of their child or kids create a parenting plan in writing. This written plan must have a visitation schedule that resolves disputes pertaining to parenting time and custody.
Click here for a pdf on parenting time in Arizona.
Why Arizona Requires Parenting Agreements
Arizona courts push for divorcing parents to reach an agreement about the legal and physical custody of children. Legal custody matters as it shapes decisions about health, education, lifestyle and religion. Arizona courts prefer divorcing couples reach an agreement on these important issues prior to actually divorcing as parents who get along and make decisions in unison tend to minimize stressful conflict.
The overarching aim of establishing a parenting plan is to serve the child’s best interest. Aside from reducing the amount of conflict the child is exposed to, creating a parenting agreement typically provides better solutions than a mediator or judge is likely to hand down. The bottom line is parents know their kids better than judges, mediators and others. Everything from the child’s preferences, temperament, social relationships and behavioral issues will play a part in the parenting plan and life after parental divorce.
The Issue of Joint Custody
When domestic violence is a factor within a case involving parenting time, it becomes the court’s top priority to protect the victimized parent and child from further harm. The parent who commits violent acts will be denied parenting time until it can be proven to the judge that they won’t endanger the child or impair their emotional development. Even if the court agrees to the parenting time, it has to protect the other parent and child from danger.
The court can:
- Order the parenting time to take place in a protected setting, such as a police station lobby
- Order a state agency to be responsible for supervising the parenting time
- Allow for another family member or household member supervise the parenting time under specific conditions
- Provide the order that the abusive parent must abstain from using or possessing drugs or alcohol during parenting time and 24 hours preceding that time
- Ban any overnight visitation
- Require the payment of a bond to ensure the child’s safe return
- Require the abusive parent to pay for any of the costs that may be associated with the parenting time
- Establish any other conditions deemed necessary to ensure safety
Factors Considered To Determine Changes For Accused Parent
The court is willing to hear the accused parent rebuttal when the court presumes that parenting time is not in the best interest of the child. These are the types of information that the court will consider when hearing parenting time cases with domestic violence as a factor:
- The parent needs to prove that being awarded legal-making custody (in any form) is in the best interest of the child
- If the parent has completed a batterer’s prevention program successfully
- If the parent has completed a program for drug or alcohol abuse successfully if the court finds that counseling is necessary
- Whether the parent has completed a parenting class, as deemed necessary by the court
- The status of probation, parole, or community supervision or if an active protective order restrains the parent
- If there have been any further acts of violence committed by the parent
Why You Need An Arizona Family Law Attorney
The most critical factor in any Arizona family court proceeding is the interest of the child. Divorce and child custody can be messy situations, often driven by the intent to hurt the other party for whatever reason caused the separation. Unfortunately, this is not the child’s fault, but they fall in the middle of the mess.
An Arizona family law attorney can help you with the aspects of your specific case. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you can request that special circumstances be made when your child visits the other parent. You don’t have to handle court appearances alone, call upon the legal professionals of an Arizona family law firm to help you today.