The animosity between former spouses can clearly affect children. However, it can also affect the ability of parents to retain child custody and visitation rights. When parents display the following behaviors, it can endanger their position in the mind of a judge:
At present, there is a Father's rights bill moving through the Arizona State Legislature that proposes to give fathers equal custody rights of children born out of wedlock (to unmarried parents) provided there was an acknowledgment of paternity signed by both parents at the time the child was born. A formal acknowledgment can be signed pursuant to existing Arizona laws. Currently, a mother has full legal custody rights to a child born out of wedlock. This does not change until such time as a Court orders paternity and grants a father custodial rights. Many times this can take many months to achieve. Until then, fathers can be at the mercy of a mother's whim. It is not uncommon for fathers to delay the formal court process as the parents initially get along. Once the parents no longer agree, problems can arise for fathers trying to see their child. A father can go weeks and months without seeing his child while working through the family court system. That is why establishing paternity and custody rights promptly is so important.