Phoenix/Scottsdale Child Custody Attorney

For the majority of people, their children are the most important parts of their lives. They will do anything to ensure that their child’s best interests are upheld and safety ensured.

The love and protective instinct that most parents have can make child custody cases extremely stressful and turn negotiations into long drawn out court battles. These court battles require a tremendous amount of evidence gathering and the crafting of powerful and persuasive in-court arguments.

Our years of experience and expertise allow us to streamline the process of evidence collection and argument crafting to ensure your case is as quick and painless as possible. However, the largest investment in these child custody cases is the time required to create and argue a winning case.

It may not be possible for you to invest the amount of time necessary to prevail in a child custody case on your own. You may be busy with work or other important tasks you need to handle to ensure that both you and your children’s lives do not suffer.

This is where the Sheinson Law Group and our years of experience and battle-hardened legal team step in to provide you with all the necessary information, time and effort needed to guide you to victory in your child custody case.

While we will provide the best possible representation in your child custody case it is vitally important that you are involved at every step of the way.

If you are involved in a child custody case that requires establishment, modification or enforcement of child custody orders it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the established case law and your custody rights. 

Even if you have a lawyer to represent you in your child custody case it is still important to have a working knowledge of the child custody laws.

Having substantial knowledge of the established child custody laws will allow you to have a more active role in your child custody case and will greatly assist in your child custody case.

At Sheinson Law Group we pride ourselves on representing our clients with a more personal touch and client-centered focus. You can expect to be kept in the loop with all the pertinent knowledge and expertise necessary to have a firm grasp of the laws and regulations related to your case.

We promise to provide you with all the knowledge necessary to ensure that your case is handled in a manner that meets your expectations in the courtroom or at the negotiation table.

The second tenant of our client-centered care involves keeping you up to date on the events and progress of your case. We will ensure that you are kept up to date on all the pertinent information in your case so that you do not have to worry about the state of your case during this stressful time.  

If you need any information or legal counsel regarding your child custody case please give us a call at (480) 365-0340 for to schedule a consultation.

Why choose Sheinson Law for your divorce representation:

Laws of Establishing Custody:

In Arizona, custody is actually referred to as legal decision-making and parenting time. In any child custody case, the first step in dealing with the issues associated with child custody is to establish legal decision-making and parenting time orders. 

In establishing a legal decision-making order, the Court will look to A.R.S. §25-403, which states:

  1. The court shall determine legal decision-making and parenting time, either originally or on petition for modification, in accordance with the best interests of the child. The court shall consider all factors that are relevant to the child’s physical and emotional well-being, including:
  2. The past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and the child.
  3. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
  4. The child’s adjustment to home, school and community.
  5. If the child is of suitable age and maturity, the wishes of the child as to legal decision-making and parenting time.
  6. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  7. Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the other parent.  This paragraph does not apply if the court determines that a parent is acting in good faith to protect the child from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim of domestic violence or child abuse.
  8. Whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay, to increase the cost of litigation or to persuade the court to give a legal decision-making or a parenting time preference to that parent.
  9. Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to section 25-403.03.
  10. The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding legal decision-making or parenting time.
  11. Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title.
  12. Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02.
  13. In a contested legal decision-making or parenting time case, the court shall make specific findings on the record about all relevant factors and the reasons for which the decision is in the best interests of the child.

The Court may order sole legal decision-making or joint legal decision-making. In determining the level of decision-making that is in the child’s best interests, the court shall consider all of the factors listed above, and all of the following listed in A.R.S. §25-403.01:

  1. The agreement or lack of an agreement by the parents regarding joint legal decision-making.
  2. Whether a parent’s lack of an agreement is unreasonable or is influenced by an issue not related to the child’s best interests.
  3. The past, present and future abilities of the parents to cooperate in decision-making about the child to the extent required by the order of joint legal decision-making.
  4. Whether the joint legal decision-making arrangement is logistically possible.

However, a parent who is not granted sole or joint legal decision-making is still entitled to reasonable parenting time to ensure that the child has substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing contact unless the court finds, after a hearing, that parenting time would endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.

Joint legal decision-making does not necessarily mean that the parents are entitled to equal parenting time in their schedules. 

If you and your former spouse find yourselves in a battle over the amount of parenting time and your spouse has control of your child, you will have an extremely difficult time ensuring that you have time with your children.

If your spouse is not allowing you to see your children law enforcement will only be able to advise you to get a child custody order that ensures you both get a reasonable amount of time with your children. 

To establish a parenting plan, at least the following should be included pursuant to A.R.S. §25-403.02:

  1. A designation of the legal decision-making as joint or sole as defined in section 25-401.
  2. Each parent’s rights and responsibilities for the personal care of the child and for decisions in areas such as education, health care and religious training.
  3. A practical schedule of parenting time for the child, including holidays and school vacations.
  4. A procedure for the exchanges of the child, including location and responsibility for transportation.
  5. A procedure by which proposed changes, relocation of where a child resides with either parent pursuant to section 25-408, disputes and alleged breaches may be mediated or resolved, which may include the use of conciliation services or private counseling.
  6. A procedure for periodic review of the plan’s terms by the parents.
  7. A procedure for communicating with each other about the child, including methods and frequency.
  8. A statement that each party has read, understands and will abide by the notification requirements of section 25-403.05, subsection B.

Please give us a call at (480) 365-0340 for to schedule a consultation to discuss any custody, legal decision-making or parenting time issues.

Court’s Jurisdiction to hear and provide a decision in a Child Custody Case:

In the state of Arizona, a court is only allowed to issue an initial child custody order as stated in the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. 

In a divorce, both parents are required to file an official affidavit with the court that provides important information to the custody case such as where the children have resided over the last 5 years, their home state, etc.

This affidavit will then be used by the judge to determine whether his/her court has the jurisdiction to decide a child custody case.

If your children’s home state is Arizona, (requires that your children lived in the state for the previous six months leading up to the divorce), then that court will have jurisdiction and the power to decide your custody case.

Child Custody Agreements:

Pursuant to Rule 69 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, the parents can enter into a written and notarized custody agreement. This is possible in situations where both parents allow for compromise and negotiation. 

This Rule 69 agreement requires a written legal decision-making and parenting plan that lays out the ground rules for the custody of your children. This document must be signed and agreed to by both parents (or counsel on a parent’s behalf). 

The signed agreement is then submitted to the court for approval. The agreement is not binding until it is submitted to an approved by the court as provided by law. Your assigned judge must read the agreement and ensure that your children’s best interest is upheld by the agreement.

A child custody agreement is a best-case scenario in these matters as it allows for both parents to reach a suitable agreement while not having to spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting in court.

We here at Sheinson Law Group would be honored to have your back during these negotiations to ensure that your parental rights are upheld, you get a fair deal, and you get as much cherished time with your children as possible.

We will do everything in our power to guide you through these very difficult and frustrating negotiations to get you the deal you and your children deserve. However, if both parents cannot reach a reasonable agreement then the case will be taken to court where the real battle begins.

Custody Trials:

If you and your former spouse cannot reach a reasonable agreement for the custody of your children, then the decisions will be left to the court. The state of Arizona uses the terms “legal decision-making” and “parenting time” rather than custody. The Court may order sole legal decision-making or joint legal decision-making. 

A parent who is awarded sole legal decision-making authority has complete authority to act on behalf of the child in all major decisions relating to education, medical treatment and religious choice. 

On the other hand, neither parent has superior authority over the other if the parents share joint legal decision-making. Both parents have the right to make decisions in the best interests of the children. If there is a dispute and the parents cannot agree on a course of action, the court may ultimately have to step in. 

The other aspect of the trial will focus on the parenting time that each parent will have with the children. Even an order of joint legal decision-making does not necessarily mean that parents will each have equal parenting time. In a trial, the court will establish:

  • A practical schedule of parenting time for the child, including holidays and school vacations.
  • A procedure for the exchanges of the child, including location and responsibility for transportation.
  • A procedure by which proposed changes, relocation of where a child resides with either parent pursuant to section 25-408, disputes and alleged breaches may be mediated or resolved, which may include the use of conciliation services or private counseling.
  • A procedure for periodic review of the plan’s terms by the parents.
  • A procedure for communicating with each other about the child, including methods and frequency.

Factors that go into a Court’s Decision:

  • The past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and the child.
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school and community.
  • If the child is of suitable age and maturity, the wishes of the child as to legal decision-making and parenting time.
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the other parent.  This paragraph does not apply if the court determines that a parent is acting in good faith to protect the child from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim of domestic violence or child abuse.
  • Whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay, to increase the cost of litigation or to persuade the court to give a legal decision-making or a parenting time preference to that parent.
  • Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to section 25-403.03.
  • The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding legal decision-making or parenting time.
  • Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02.

We sincerely hope that you chose us to guide you through this difficult process and help you to move on with the rest of your life.  At Sheinson Law Group, our focus is on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction and we will do everything we can to meet your expectations. 

If you are interested in legal representation or have any questions about legal decision-making, parenting time, or Arizona child custody law please give us a call at (480) 365-0340.

At Sheinson Law Group, our focus is on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction – we will do everything we can to meet your expectations. CONTACT US today for a complimentary phone consultation.