Attorney Katherine Kraus

Best Attorney
in Peoria!!!

Best Attorney
in Peoria!!!

Focusing on parenting time versus legal authority

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2024 | Children

Navigating a contested custody case in the Arizona family courts isn’t easy. Any legal issue related to children inevitably sparks intense emotional reactions. Parents love their children and want to spend as much time with them as possible.

The prospect of giving up time with children can be very stressful. Unfortunately, the reality of sharing parental rights and responsibilities in Arizona requires concessions from both parents. Neither is likely to secure all of the parenting time with the children unless there are dangerous and unusual circumstances.

Instead, the courts expect parents to divide parenting time between themselves or to share it in accordance with a court order set by a judge. Some parents become so focused on securing the maximum amount of parenting time possible that they overlook the importance of also seeking decision-making authority for their children

Legal custody is an important consideration

The legal authority to make decisions for children can be just as important as physical custody or parenting time. The parents of any minor child generally have to make regular decisions about their upbringing and health.

Parents choose what kind of medical care their children receive and what schools they attend. They choose the religion that they observe and have significant control over their daily lives. Decision-making authority is there for a critical aspect of parenting. The courts have to address it along with parenting time in custody cases.

Some parents make the mistake during custody negotiations of giving up decision-making authority in return for a more generous allocation of parenting time. They could then find themselves cut out of decisions regarding what types of care their children receive or important issues related to their education.

While it can be difficult to share parental authority, doing so is often the best option for parents in a shared custody scenario. In situations where they cannot agree on specific terms, they can potentially go back to family court seeking a judge’s intervention. Judges have the authority to either modify the existing custody order to grant one parent more decision-making authority or to settle disputes about parenting decisions.

Understanding the importance of both parenting time and formal custody can help parents more effectively advocate for their parental rights during a divorce or separation. Learning about the Arizona rules for custody can be beneficial for concerned parents preparing for family court. Both parenting time and decision-making authority can have a major impact on a child’s upbringing.

FindLaw Network