Child custody is a major fighting point in most divorce cases and there are many times that custody and visitation issues find their way to the family court. For couples involved in divorce proceedings in Arizona, it is important to understand how the court rules on custody issues. At the same time, parents fighting for custody rights should appreciate the crucial role of a dedicated family lawyer. In deciding who gets custody, there are several factors courts in Arizona consider, including:
The Best Interests of the Child
The overriding factor in deciding custody cases is the best interest of the child. The goal of family court is to ensure that children are safe and adjust well. A family court judge will review every piece of evidence, witness testimony, and any other argument in line with the best interest of the child.
The court will look at the status quo when making custody decisions to avoid drastic disruption in the child’s life. While change is inevitable after divorce, the courts in Arizona go to great lengths to minimize disruption. The child’s primary caregiver will have the upper hand in custody hearings, so parents should provide sufficient documentation to support any such claims. A family lawyer can arrange for such evidence to strengthen the parent’s claim to custody rights.
Some parents agree on custody before or during the divorce proceedings. In such cases, the parents’ wishes influence custody decisions. While the court is inclined to approve such wishes, the child’s best interest always comes first.
In line with catering for a child’s best interests, the court will also consider which parent can offer the most stable environment. It is important to note that stability does not only refer to money but all-round support for the child. This includes availability, a regular routine, and a safe and clean living environment. The parents have to prove to the court that they can offer this.
The wishes of the child carry the least influence in the court’s decision on custody cases. Age can be a big factor in demoting the child’s wishes in custody decisions; however, the court will still factor these wishes in its ruling. Parents have to prove a quality relationship with the child to increase the chances of winning custody.
Contact a Family Lawyer
Custody cases are complex and emotionally draining, but good legal representation can strengthen a parent or guardian’s custody case. Pintel Law Firm PLLC offers dedicated legal representation in child custody cases in Arizona. Need help with a child custody case in the Phoenix metropolitan area? Contact us today for a free consultation.