Family Law | Child Custody
Child Custody and Family Law Attorney in Prescott, Arizona
Child Custody and Family Law Attorney in Cottonwood, Arizona
The only person who can win or lose a custody dispute is the child.
That’s why in Arizona our custody laws focus on the child’s best interests and in most cases mandate that parents attend mediation to try to resolve their custody disputes before taking them to the courtroom.
What is custody?
The term “custody” is short-hand for two concepts in Arizona family law – legal decision-making and parenting time.
Legal decision-making is the authority to make the major decisions in your child’s life – decisions like what school your child will attend, what kind of religious training will he/she receive, and whether or not your child gets braces. Parents can either share joint legal decision-making, meaning both parents have an equal voice in making these decisions, or one parent may have sole legal decision-making, meaning one parent makes these decisions. But even if a parent has sole legal decision-making, that parent must still involve the other parent in the decision-making process. Although the parent who does not have legal decision-making authority cannot make the decision, he or she can give input.
Parenting time is exactly what it sounds like – the schedule of time during which each parent has access to the child. Parenting time schedules come in all shapes and sizes and depend on a number of things, including distance between the parents’ homes, the parents’ work schedules, the child’s school schedule, etc. Ideally, a parenting time schedule affords both parents frequent and meaningful contact with the child, although there are circumstances where such contact is either not logistically possible or not in the best interests of the child.
All custody disputes will result in something called a “Parenting Plan,” which contains provisions concerning legal decision-making authority and a parenting time schedule.
Over the course of his career, our Prescott and Cottonwood, Arizona child custody and family law attorney has helped hundreds of parents just like you come up with parenting plans that are in the best interests of their children. Most of the time, these parenting plans are the product of mediation, settlement conferences, or informal negotiations. But sometimes, custody disputes can’t be settled and have to be tried in court by a judge. If it comes to that, do not fret. Our Prescott , Arizona child custody and family law attorney is no stranger to trial and will be prepared to advocate for the parenting plan you desire. Put our attentive, compassionate and trusted firm to work for you by scheduling a consultation today.