Each state, including Arizona, has its own set of rules in modifying an existing child custody order. For a divorced parent who wants more time with their children, it is best to seek a modification through the courts. Although oral agreements between you and your ex spouse can be a quick and easy solution, they can prove to backfire if things in your relationship take a turn for the worst.
Absent special circumstances, a parent will need to wait a period of one year from the issuance of the existing child custody order before seeking a modification with the courts. Following the one year period, if both parents agree to a modification, the process of seeking modification through the courts will in most cases move quick and smooth. However, if both parents cannot agree on changes to the child custody order, you will have to go through a much longer process in which you will have the burden of convincing the court that a modification is necessary, and in the best interest of the child. In determining what is in the best interest for the child, a court will consider several factors, such as:
- A parents ability to provide for their child both physically and financially.
- The medical history of the parent, both physically and mentally.
- The opinion of the child if they have reached a certain age, normally 12 years old.
- The wishes of both parents.
- The emotional bond between the parent and child.
- A parents lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or smoking and drug use.
If after looking at all these factors a court is still unable to determine the best interest of the child, a court will proceed to look closely at which parent will provide the child with the most stable household.
Child custody matters are some of the most difficult and complicated cases to go through family courts. As such, you are encouraged to consult with an experienced Phoenix family law attorney to represent you through the process. With over 30 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Lasiter & Jackson will aggressively represent your interests in any child custody proceeding. Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.