Legal Decision-Making Versus Parenting Time in Arizona
By Zachary Mushkatel on August 7, 2013
When child custody issues are resolved during an Arizona divorce, two key questions must be answered: how legal decisions will be made for the child and how parents will share time actually spent with the child. Because custody decisions depend on many factors that are unique to each family, the best way to understand your custody options is to speak to an experienced Phoenix child custody attorney.
“Legal decision-making” is the right to make decisions about major aspects of the child’s life. These include where the child will go to school, what kinds of medical care the child will receive, and the child’s religious instruction.
When an Arizona child’s parents divorce, one parent may have all the legal decision-making power for the child. This is called “sole legal decision-making.” Oftentimes, both parents may share legal decision-making powers. This is called “joint legal decision-making.” Whether sole or joint legal decision-making is best for you and your children will depend on your individual circumstances.
In addition to determine who will have legal decision-making power, your divorce will also address how each parent spends time with the child. The division of time actually spent with the child, including decisions about where the child lives and when, is known as “parenting time.” Like legal decision-making, parenting time may be split between the parents, or it may be granted to one parent. Generally speaking, Arizona courts will try to ensure both parents can spend some time with the child whenever it is in the best interests of the child to do so. If you need help with child custody matters in Arizona, our Phoenix area family lawyers are here to help.
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.