Child Custody Attorneys in Glendale & Tucson, Arizona
Divorces involving children can feel incredibly frustrating and even overwhelming. Not only is a marriage ending, but matters concerning child custody need to be addressed. This is where the distinction between physical custody and legal custody may come into play.
If you are thinking about divorce or are already in the middle of the process and want to understand how to establish or modify legal custody, reach out to an experienced Arizona family law attorney. At Law Offices of Vescio & Seifert, P.C., we're dedicated to offering reliable advocacy and trusted legal counsel to clients in divorce and child custody-related matters. Our attorneys are available to discuss your personal situation and help you understand legal custody and physical custody. At the end of the day, we strive to protect your family's best interests and help establish a favorable child custody agreement.
The Law Offices of Vescio & Seifert, P.C. proudly serve clients across Glendale & Tucson and surrounding areas throughout Arizona, including the Phoenix Metro Area. Set up a consultation with our team when you’re ready to move forward.
Child Custody in Arizona
In a marital dissolution—legal separation or divorce—where minor children are involved, the parents must establish a child custody arrangement to determine the responsibilities, duties, and rights of each parent. However, when divorce is contested, the parents may need to turn to court to help settle child custody issues.
Factors Considered in Determining Custody
In a contested divorce in Arizona, the court will determine legal custody or legal decision-making based on the best interests of the child. Here are some factors that the court might consider when determining child custody:
The reasonable preference of the child
The wishes of the parent
How the child will interact with each parent and other kids or adults in the parent's household
The ability of the child to adjust to a new school, home, or community
The parent with primary responsibility for taking care of the child
The present, past, and future relationship between the child and the parent
Any history or false allegation of domestic violence, child abuse, or neglect
Whether one parent deliberately caused extended delay or prolonged litigation
Whether one parent used coercion or duress to get the other party to accept a custody agreement
Any other relevant factors deemed necessary to decide what is best for the child
An experienced Arizona child custody attorney can review every aspect of your specific circumstances and represent you intelligently in your child custody case.
Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody
There are two categories of child custody in Arizona: physical and legal custody. It’s important to understand the difference.
Physical custody determines the parent with physical care and control of the child. Generally, the child will live with the parent who has physical custody most of the time. Also, the parent with physical custody may be responsible for the following:
Taking care of the child
Disciplining the child
Making decisions about the child's daily activities
Conversely, legal custody—also referred to as "legal decision-making" in Arizona—determines the legal rights and responsibilities of the parents. Essentially, the parent with legal custody will have the right to make crucial life decisions affecting the child's welfare, such as:
The child's education and schooling
Religious training and upbringing
Medical, dental, and other healthcare matters
In the majority of child custody cases—unless one parent is unfit—legal custody will be awarded to both parents. This is referred to as "joint legal custody." Moreover, you may be eligible to modify a child custody agreement due to changes in circumstances.
Modifying an Existing Child Custody Arrangement
Child custody orders are not set in stone. In order to modify a child custody arrangement in Arizona, the requesting parent must demonstrate "substantial changes in circumstances" since the last child custody agreement was entered.
Examples of Changes in Circumstances
Here are some major life events that might allow you to request a change to your existing child custody agreement:
Involuntary loss of job
Changes in the parent's marital status
Child abuse or neglect by either parent
Changes in either parent's work schedule
The other parent voluntarily ignores or violates the terms of the child custody agreement
The death of the custodial parent
A lawyer can help you explore your options to adjust an existing child custody arrangement, help file your post-decree petition, and represent you in court if necessary.
Work With a Seasoned Family Law Attorney
Determining child custody and legal decision-making authority in an Arizona divorce often involves a lot of complexities. The divorcing parents must establish a feasible parenting plan, allocate parenting time, and clarify the duties and responsibilities of each parent. When trying to establish legal custody, you need to speak with a family law attorney for proper guidance.
At Law Offices of Vescio & Seifert, P.C., our attorneys are committed to offering outstanding legal services to clients as we guide them through the complex procedures involved in divorce and child custody. Whether you want to establish or adjust a child custody arrangement, our team can help file your petition and walk you through the legal procedures involved. We will fight vigorously for your custody rights, help protect the best interests of your loved ones, and settle custody issues amicably.
Child Custody Attorneys in Glendale & Tucson, Arizona
If you need help establishing or changing a child custody order, contact us at Law Offices of Vescio & Seifert, P.C. today for an initial consultation. Our experienced attorneys can offer you the dedicated legal counsel and brilliant advocacy you need in your custody proceedings. We proudly serve clients across Glendale & Tucson and surrounding areas throughout Arizona, including the Phoenix Metro Area.