Avoiding pitfalls in Arizona child custody laws

Divorce is seldom an enjoyable part of anyone's life. Usually when couples split, both parties experience emotions based on anger, resentment and distrust. Those feelings are usually exacerbated if the divorcing couple share a child. Suddenly, rather mundane activities such as dropping off a child at the home of an ex-spouse can quickly erupt into a heated argument.

Sometimes, those arguments can lead to one parent withholding visitation rights from the other parent or even relating false statements to the court in order to prevent access to the child. However, there were several substantial changes to Arizona law in 2012 regarding child custody specifically written to address such issues.

Arizona law allows a family law judge to consider whatever is in the child's best interest when making decisions about child physical and legal custody. The 2012 changes requires a judge to fine a party that has intentionally misled the court or caused intentional delays aimed at racking up attorney's fees for the other party. Previously, the decision to fine a party for that behavior was up to the court's discretion.

Another potential pitfall that some parents should know about the 2012 changes in the law is that unless there has been a history of domestic violence or abuse, the court must seek to maximize the time that each party is allowed to have with the child. Additionally, the court is no longer able to consider gender in determining which party should be given preference in child custody.

If you are in Arizona resident currently experiencing child custody problems, we want you to know that our law firm has over 30 years of combined legal experience handling family law issues throughout Phoenix metropolitan area and Maricopa County. We will help you avoid any potential pitfalls in your case.

We offer dependable services to our clients based on the principle of preserving your precious relationship with your child. We understand that parenthood is a lifelong commitment, and we will advocate strongly on your behalf to protect your right to enforce that commitment.

Source: Lasiter & Jackson, "Dependable Child Custody & Visitation Attorney Phoenix" Sep. 18, 2014

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