As a parent, you want to hold onto the lifestyle, fun outings, and family traditions you began pre-divorce. You want your children to grow up knowing they are loved and prioritized by their parent(s). If you’re involved in a divorce, ensuring that you have a solid, well thought out and fair parenting plan in place ensures everyone is taken care of and there are no grey areas of understanding.
Navigating a child custody case can be a stressful and emotional experience for any parent. With so many factors to consider, from the well-being of the child to the parents’ preferences and legal requirements, it’s essential to have the support and guidance of an experienced attorney. For help, contact Stewart Law Group to schedule a consultation with a Scottsdale family lawyer.
Why Hire Stewart Law Group For Your Child Custody Case?
We understand that every custody case is unique, so we take the time to sit down with you, explain the power of confidentiality, and give you all the information you need to feel confident about your future. Here’s why you should work with us:
- By working closely with you throughout the process, we aim to make complex legal concepts easy to comprehend while keeping you updated on the progress of your case every step of the way.
- Legal fees can be an added source of stress for families already facing the emotional turmoil of a child custody case. With us, you’ll know exactly what your legal expenses will be at each and every step of the process, paving the way for informed decision-making and an overall sense of control over your legal journey.
- Unlike the “one-size-fits-all” approach offered by some other law firms, our attorneys provide client-focused representation tailor-made to your specific situation. Rest assured that your family’s best interests are at the core of our strategic planning and decision-making.
How an Attorney Can Help You With a Child Custody Case?
All child custody cases are different, but a lawyer is always helpful. Here’s how they can help:
- One of the primary ways an attorney can help you is by guiding you through the legal process. They are well-versed in the intricacies of family law and can help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a parent.
- Child custody cases can be emotionally draining, but having the support of an experienced attorney can offer a sense of comfort and reassurance. They act as a sounding board, offering objective advice and guidance, even during the most trying times.
- Above all, an attorney is there to protect your rights and your child’s best interests. They will fight tirelessly to ensure that the child’s well-being is the main priority in any custody arrangement.
Legal Decision-Making in Arizona
Legal decision-making is the right and responsibility of a parent to make non-emergency legal decisions for their child. These decisions include matters like education, healthcare, religious training, and personal care.
It’s essential to keep the child’s best interests in mind and prioritize their welfare in all decision-making processes. In Arizona, the courts can grant one parent sole legal decision-making authority or order joint legal decision-making between the two parents.
Parenting Time: Ensuring Access and Quality Time with Your Child
Parenting time refers to the access each parent has to their child according to a court-approved parenting plan. This plan outlines schedules, holidays, vacations, and other important details related to spending time with the child. While with the child, each parent is responsible for making routine childcare decisions, along with providing shelter, food, and clothing.
While joint legal decision-making grants both parents the authority to make key decisions for their child, it does not guarantee equal parenting time.
To determine parenting time and legal decision-making, the court will consider various factors:
“The court shall determine legal decision-making and parenting time, either originally or on petition for modification, in accordance with the best interests of the child. The court shall consider all factors that are relevant to the child’s physical and emotional well-being, including:
- The past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and the child.
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
- The child’s adjustment to home, school and community.
- If the child is of suitable age and maturity, the wishes of the child 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 child frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the other parent. This paragraph does not apply if the court determines that a parent is acting in good faith to protect the child from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim of domestic violence or 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 to that parent.
- Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to section 25-403.03.
- 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.
- Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02.
- In a contested legal decision-making or parenting time case, the court shall make specific findings on the record about all relevant factors and the reasons for which the decision is in the best interests of the child.”
What Should Your Parenting Plan Look Like?
Naturally, you are concerned about doing what is best for your children during and after divorce proceedings. No one wants to end up in a custody battle. Parents need to maintain strong bonds with their children and to continue building trust and showing love to their children. Even after the divorce, they want their children to be able to thrive and reach their full potential. Your parenting custody plan is the guiding document for building a solid future with your children.
Our Scottsdale divorce attorneys are particularly attentive to the needs and best interests of children whose parents are separated. A comprehensive parenting plan is required in all cases of shared custody. Whether it be part of a divorce, legal separation, annulment, or following paternity establishment.
Create a Child-Focused Custody Plan
Making informed choices about legal decision-making authority and parenting time are essential for the best possible outcome in your custody case. For example, you may have a budding young artist in the family who is doing studio-level work at Scottsdale Artists’ School Youth Academy on Marshall Way. A key provision in the parenting plan could ensure your children are able to attend art classes; take music lessons, and participate in specialized programs that help them fully express their gifts. You want to do everything reasonably possible to ensure each of your children has the opportunity and resources available to benefit from community programs like these.
For many parties, forensic child custody evaluations assist parents and judges in determining what the children’s best interests truly are. Moms and Dads frequently agree on a particular evaluator based upon mental health expertise and credentials. If parents are not in unison, then each may hire an independent evaluator. An experienced Scottsdale divorce attorney near you will have worked with many evaluators in the Valley, and can make recommendations.
Custody Determinations: Your Child Needs Both of You
Do you have a sports enthusiast growing up in the house? Then both mom and dad should have the opportunity to take their youngster to see the sports memorabilia housed at Fiesta Bowl Museum on the waterfront.
Applying fathers’ rights and weighing the evidence of Dad’s parenting skills, courts will award joint legal decision-making to fathers along with equal or majority parenting time. Even sole custody is possible in certain circumstances.
Family Court Has Continuing Jurisdiction
To avoid emotionally draining battles, the court has continuing jurisdiction over child custody matters. Ordinarily, the family law judge will consider modifying orders after one year has passed with a substantial and continuing change of circumstances. However, modified orders may be sought at any time there is an emergency or if the child’s environment could seriously endanger his or her emotional, mental, or physical health, safety or well-being.
What About Grandparents Rights?
At Stewart Law Group, we also assist grandparents needing legal representation to maintain relationships with their grandchildren. Along with step-parents and adults standing in loco parentis to a child; Arizona law allows for visitation orders in limited circumstances when in the child’s best interests. Talk to a caring and knowledgable attorney in the Scottsdale area who can help.
What Our Clients Have to Say:
“Highly experienced and efficient. I interviewed five lawyers before choosing Jennifer Mihalovich at the Stewart Law Group and was really happy with my decision. She was very experienced, knows custody/child support issues/processes very well, yet not too aggressive. That’s exactly what I needed – a good lawyer that knows what she is doing and makes good sense. Her paralegal Erica is also very efficient and responsive. I feel relieved having them by my side every step along this difficult journey. The Stewart Law Group has a standard operation process in place that I appreciated: regular check-in to make sure I am satisfied with the service; regular updates on my account balance; regular invoices showing details of the charges. Highly recommend!”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
January 17, 2020
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We Keep Our Clients Informed, Contact Our Scottsdale Office About Your Case
With Stewart Law Group, you need never worry about being kept apprised of new developments in your case. We keep you in the loop on every discovery matter, every legal motion and hearing, every court proceeding, and every judicial ruling and decision. If a trial is necessary, then we will prepare you for that, too. If you are dealing with custody proceedings, or simply have any questions about issues please don’t hesitate to contact our Scottsdale office. 480-425-1400