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The differences between custody and legal decision making rights

As your divorce comes near, you might be stressing out about what will happen with your children. This is a big concern, especially if you are unsure about the judgment and decision-making abilities of your soon-to-be-ex. 

Custody can be an even more confusing subject because of how Arizona laws are worded. If you are confused about the difference between custody, parenting time and legal decision-making rights, do yourself a favor and get a quick explanation. 

Revised statutes

In 2013, Arizona statutes changed. Instead of custody, these issues are all referred to as parenting time and legal decision-making. The goal of Arizona courts is for your children to have the best relationships possible with both parents. 

Defining parenting time

According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, parenting time refers to the amount of time each parent spends with the children. This includes time spent for a few hours during outings around town or for multiple days at home. 

Defining legal decision-making

This used to be called legal custody. It simply refers to the right of a parent to make important decisions relating to health care, education and religious training. Under Arizona law, parents may have joint or sole legal decision-making powers. Depending on the outcome of your divorce, you could end up with sole authority over these decisions, or you may need to compromise with your ex. 

Understanding a parenting time plan

You will likely need a parenting time schedule to determine when each of you will spend time with your children. There are multiple types of parenting plans. Each parenting plan is unique and will depend on the details of your case. 

You probably feel stressed about what will happen regarding your children because of your divorce, but you can rest assured that Arizona courts want the best for your children. You should also talk to an attorney and fight for your parenting time and decision-making rights. 

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