Families are our most valuable asset, and if you are going through a divorce in Mesa AZ – or any other city in the Phoenix metro area – it is so important that you protect yourself and your family by knowing your legal rights and obligations when making child custody decisions.
If parties to a Mesa AZ divorce case have children together, the court will make a child custody determination during the dissolution proceedings. Legal custody involves decision-making authority, and a parent with legal custody has the right to make important decisions relating to his or her children. These decision-making rights generally include decisions about education, non-emergency health care decisions, and religious upbringing.
There are two types of custody that divorcing parents should be aware of – joint custody and sole custody.
Joint custody is the most common type of custody arrangement in Arizona. This type of custody authorizes both parents to share in the decision making process for their child. Usually, but not always, joint custody proves to be the best arrangement for everyone involved.
On the other hand, Sole legal custody is when decision making authority is only given to one of the child’s parents. In cases involving acts of significant domestic violence, sole custody may be awarded to the non-abusive parent. Sole custody can also be appropriate if parents are caught in a parental gridlock where they cannot agree on education, religion and medical care related decisions. If one parent is unfit to act as a decision maker, or simply refuses to co-parent, sole custody could be awarded to the other parent.
Bottom line – parents know their children the best. Therefore, if at all possible, parents should work together to mutually reach a custody order. After all, if mom and dad can’t decide the custody issue, it will fall to the judge, who has never met and likely will never meet their children, to make this life changing decision. If you or someone you know is involved in a custody case, it would be very helpful to seek the advice of an experienced Mesa AZ child custody attorney. This is especially true if you or someone you know is seeking an award of sole legal custody.
For more information about child custody, or to schedule a free family law consultation with myself, Mesa AZ child custody attorney Timothy Durkin, over the phone call 480-464-1111.