How to Get Custody of Your Child
By Zachary Mushkatel on October 9, 2015
In many cases, divorcing parents are able to agree on child custody and draw up a parenting plan to present to the court. In other cases, however, child custody is the most contentious issue in a divorce.
In a divorce, depending on the ruling of the court, you may be awarded sole or joint custody, which has been called “legal decision-making” and “parenting time” in Arizona since January 2013.
Legal decision-making refers to the authority granted to one or both parents to make decisions for the child about education, health care, religion and other important matters. Parenting time refers to visitation and the amount of time a parent is physically with the child.
Reaching an Agreement with Your Spouse
The ideal solution is to reach an agreement with your spouse regarding legal decision-making and parenting time. If you have been unsuccessful in reaching an agreement on your own, mediation may be a possible solution. In some cases, a neutral third party can calm the situation and facilitate agreement.
If the parents can agree, it keeps the decisions regarding custody of their children in their own hands, rather than in the hands of the court. When parents agree on custody, they jointly prepare a parenting plan and submit it to the court for approval. If they cannot agree, the court must decide.
Going to Court
If you are unable to come to terms with your spouse and are facing a child custody battle in Arizona, it is important to present a strong case to the court as to why you should have custody rather than your spouse. The number one concern of the court is the child’s best interests. That is what your case should address.
In determining child custody matters, Arizona courts consider a number of factors. You will need to convince the court that:
- Your past, present and potential future relationship with your child is positive and beneficial.
- The child will be well-adjusted to the community, home and school in your custody.
- Your child’s interactions with parents, siblings and others while in your custody will impact his or her best interests.
- Your child wishes to reside with you (if the child is old and mature enough to decide).
- You are in good physical and mental health as are any others who reside with you.
- You are completely willing to facilitate frequent, continuing and meaningful contact between your child and the other parent.
- The court will also want to know that you have not acted unethically to obtain a child custody agreement, and you have not made any false allegations in an attempt to gain a favorable ruling.
Contact an Experienced Phoenix Child Custody Lawyer
If you are seeking custody of your child in a divorce or other family situation, your best course of action is to consult with an experienced family law attorney.
At Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, P.L.L.C., our Phoenix divorce lawyers understand state law and the challenges you are facing. We are committed to helping you seek to establish a child custody arrangement that best benefits your children.
Contact our firm today for the dedicated legal advocacy you need.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.