Child Custody Negotiations with Our Mesa Divorce Lawyers
Legal decision making and parenting time (previously known as child custody)
is one of the greatest concerns in any divorce case with children. Parents
naturally don't want to lose contact with their children.
Our team at Stein and Stein, P.C. can help you create a decision making
and parenting time that works for you and your children. You may be able
to arrange this child custody plan through
mediation, which will eliminate the lengthy and drawn-out court battles that can
sometimes ensue in child custody cases. There are many advantages to mediation.
Mediation can minimize the cost of attorney's fees, decrease the emotional
uncertainty and turmoil of a litigated custody battle, and provide you
and the other parent control over a parenting time schedule that you,
as parents, know is in your children's best interests.
Choosing the Mediation Approach to Child Custody Cases
Mediation is our recommended approach because it shields the children from
court disputes and helps you and the other parent unite for the purpose
of deciding a plan that is best for your children. Our attorney can be
the mediator in your case and see both parties, or you can consult with
our attorney to obtain information about your rights and obligations while
you attend mediation separately. A mediator cannot also act as the attorney
and provide legal advice.
Arizona's Philosophy on Child Custody (Decision-Making and Parenting Time)
In Arizona, courts determine decision-making and parenting time arrangements
according to what is in the best interests of the children. If consistent
with other applicable law and the best interests of the children, A.R.S.
25-403.02 provides for both parents to share legal decision-making. A
parenting plan must also be submitted identifying the schedule of time
during which each parent has access to the children. This arrangement
typically involves a parenting time schedule that gives both parents a
significant presence in the children's lives and maximizes their parenting
time. The court does not prefer a parent's proposed plan because of gender.
A.R.S 25-403 provides that the court will determine legal decision-making
and parenting time in accordance with the best interests of the children
and shall consider all factors, including the following factors:
- The past, present, and potential future relationship between the parent
and the children
- The interaction and interrelationship of the children with the parents,
siblings and any other person who may significantly affect their best interests
- The children's adjustment to home, school and community
- If the children are of suitable age and maturity, the wishes of the children
as to legal decision-making and parenting time
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
- Which parent is more likely to allow the children frequent, meaningful,
and continuing contact with the other parent. This does not apply if the
court determines that a parent is acting in good faith to protect the
children from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim
of child abuse
- Whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary
delay, to increase the cost of litigation, or to persuade the court to
give a legal decision-making or a parenting time preference
- Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to A.R.S 403.03
- The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining
an agreement regarding legal decision-making or parenting time
- Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title,
(referring to parent education program)
- Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child
abuse or neglect under A.R.S. 13-2907.02
Mental health professionals may be involved as well in order to provide
another perspective on what is in the best interests of the children.
Our firm in Mesa can help you work toward a satisfactory child custody
Call Stein and Stein, P.C. to get a committed team on your side in uncontested and contested situations.