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Legal Decision-Making Versus Parenting Time in Arizona

By Zachary Mushkatel on

hands child

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.