The issue of child custody agreements are often the most emotional and hotly contested aspects of any divorce or child dispute. Child custody agreements are also the most important ways to ensure that you have an active role in your child’s life. If you are in the middle of a child custody dispute, do not hesitate to contact an experienced family law attorney.
Child Custody Agreements
Arizona courts will typically allow both parents to have legal decision-making authority over children during a child custody dispute. A court will take into account the best interests of the child in making any child custody determination, which includes the following:
- The relationship of the parent with the child
- The location of the child’s school in relation to the parents’ houses
- The child’s wishes
- Any incidence of domestic violence
- Prior arrests of either parents
The child custody determination will be finalized in a parenting plan which outlines the role each parent will play in a child’s life, including weekly schedules, holiday schedules, child support, and the division of medical expenses. Child custody agreements may be as detailed or broad as the parents agree to. Some parents which are on friendly terms may prefer to allow a loose schedule of child custody, subject to change on occasion. However, parents that find it difficult to agree may require a more stringent agreement which clearly outlines dates and holidays when they will have possession of the child.
In extreme locations, one parent may not have ongoing access to the child in situations where a restraining order has been issued against the parents or the parent has an arrest record. While this restriction may be modified over time, it is important to ensure that the child remains safe during any visitation. A judge can order supervised visitation in extreme circumstances which will be carefully monitored through the child custody agreement.
Child Custody Modification
A court can modify parenting orders at any time if the following occur:
- The prior parenting order has been in place for one year;
- There is reason to believe that the child’s present environment may harm the child;
- There is evidence that domestic violence or child abuse occurred;
- Six months after a parenting order was entered, a parent fails to follow the provisions of the order.
Any modification to a child custody agreement may require one or both parents to appear back at court with enough evidence to warrant a modification in child custody. A court will again carefully examine the facts and circumstances, taking into account the best interests of the child. If you believe your child is in a dangerous situation, it is important to take immediate steps to rectify this situation, including issuing a temporary injunction against the other parent or a restraining order.
Viles Law Firm | Phoenix, Arizona Divorce Lawyer
If you are involved in a child custody dispute, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of the Viles Law Firm. Our firm has 18 years of experience in handling family law cases, including child custody disputes. It is important that you take the time and effort to carefully work through a child custody agreement to ensure you receive ongoing access to your children during this time in their lives. Contact our Phoenix, Arizona office today for your initial free consultation.