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Navigating a divorce can be a very tricky situation; you are dealing with the division of physical assets from property and material goods to stocks and finances. Add determining the custody of child into the mix and you begin to feel overwhelmed. At Hallier Stearns PLC, our goal is to give you support and arm you with the knowledge you need to deal with this difficult situation. Please note, Arizona no longer uses the term “custody”. However, We are using it here as it is commonly known.

Here are the answers to two very important child custody questions:

What Types Of Custody Should I Seek?

One issue to resolve is legal decision making of the child. With “joint” legal custody, parents make major life decisions for the child together and neither parent’s decision-making rights are superior to the other’s. In Arizona, joint legal decision making is most common and preferred. In fact, many studies show that children benefit most when their separated parents cooperate in their upbringing. If a parent has “sole” legal decision making, they may make major life decisions for the child unilaterally.

When Is Sole Custody Warranted?

Sole decision making may be appropriate in cases when a parent has a history of committing acts of domestic violence, misuse of drugs or alcohol, or is incarcerated and it is therefore unlikely the parents could ever achieve cooperation in parenting decisions. In addition to legal decision making, a schedule of parenting time with each parent must be established, including schedules for holidays and vacation time.

The overriding concern and legal standard for all decision making-related issues is the best interests of the child. In most cases, this means frequent and meaningful contact with both parents. In rare cases, minimal or supervised contact may be best if a parent is unable to have a safe and healthy relationship with their child.

Contact us at Hallier Stearns PLC for more information to help you navigate the complex and sensitive issues of child custody. Your child’s well-being is our main priority.