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 arrangement. Call Stein and Stein, P.C. to get a committed team on your side in uncontested and contested situations.

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  • State Bar of Arizona