Serving Metro Phoenix

Main Office
PO Box  14483 
Scottsdale, AZ 85267

Experienced Child Custody
& Support Representation

  • · Child Custody Petitions
  • · Child Support
  • · Parental Rights and Visitation
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Child Custody

Child custody is one of the main issues parents face when they decide to get a divorce. The Daly Firm knows that child custody is one of the most emotional parts of a divorce for the parents as well as the child. Child custody is a delicate balance between protecting your rights as parents and at the same time shielding your child from the unpleasant but necessary aspects of negotiating a child custody arrangement.

Scottsdale Child Custody Attorney

At the Daly Law Firm, we are very knowledgeable and experienced with child custody arrangements in Arizona. I currently handle a wide range of child custody matters in Scottsdale, Phoenix, and the surrounding areas of Maricopa County. It is possible to have a smooth child custody arrangement process if you use the Daly Law Firm because I give my clients the utmost attention and compassion. I am here to answer all of your child custody questions in regards to:

Child Custody Information Center

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What is the different between legal and physical custody?

The definition of custody is the legal right and responsibility to take care of a child under the age of eighteen.

Legal custody is the right to make legal decisions for the child because as a minor the child cannot enter into any legally binding contracts. The person that has legal custody of the child can make decisions for the child concerning healthcare, education, and religion.

Physical custody means where the child is at the present moment. It is possible for a parent to have physical custody of a child meaning the child is living at that parent’s house. The parent might not have legal custody though meaning if the child needed to have surgery, the person with legal custody would have to tell the hospital whether they child could have the surgery or not.

Generally parents in Arizona have legal custody over the child and the physical custody is modified depending on particular family situations and dynamics.

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Does the court always have to decide child custody?

The court does not have to decide on child custody. If the parents are willing to negotiate and agree on an informal child custody arrangement the court does not have to create an official order for child custody. If the divorce gets contentious and the parents cannot come to mutual terms regarding child custody, the court will conduct evidentiary hearings to determine the best interest of the child and make a determination on child custody.

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What are the different types of child custody arrangements?

Arizona does not prefer one custody arrangement over another. The courts determine child custody by the best interest of the child standard. There are 4 types of child custody arrangements:

  • Sole Legal Custody - The court orders one parent responsible for making legal decisions for the child.

  • Joint Custody - The court orders both parents to have legal custody or physical custody or both legal and physical custody.

  • Joint Legal Custody - The court orders both parents responsible for making legal decisions for the child.

  • Joint Physical Custody - The court orders for the child to spend equal time with both parents.

There are a number of combinations that the court could order for child custody especially if there are multiple children. Parents should talk to each other and legal counsel about the best child custody arrangement for their particular situation. The court will also try to tailor the child custody arrangement to the particular situation if the parents cannot come to an agreement.

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Can I change the child custody arrangement after the divorce is final?

It is possible to modify or change child custody arrangements after the court gives a final order. You must go back to court and show there is a substantial change in circumstances and it would be in the best interest of the child to change the custody arrangement. An example of changed circumstances is if the parent with physical custody had to relocate due to a change in employment. Again the parents could mutually decide to modify the custody arrangement and give it to the court. If the parents cannot agree, the court will step in and determine if it is in the best interest of the child to modify the custody arrangement.

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How does visitation work?

Typically, child visitation is granted by the court to the parent that does not get joint or sole physical custody of the child. The courts are flexible in terms of charting out a visitation schedule, but sometimes the person with the physical custody can control access to the child. The courts frown on parents who are inflexible when working out the visitation schedule though, so it is best for parents to work together in good faith to come up with a reasonable visitation schedule.

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Can I be denied visitation?

Usually, courts do not deny visitation. As a rule, the court wants the child to have contact with both parents on a regular basis. In cases of child abuse the court may determine that contact needs to be limited and probably will order supervised visitation to ensure that the parent still sees the child and the child is not harmed. In very extreme cases the court will place a no contact order into effect, but these no contact orders are rare occurrences.

It is best to seek legal counsel when dealing with child custody issues. Sometimes parents are able to work out an amiable agreement, but often times the bitterness and resentments spill over in the custody arrangements and parents use custody and visitation as weapons to hurt their ex-spouse. By getting legal representations and court orders it is possible to minimize the conflicts that arise with child custody arrangements.

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Resources - A trusted resource that provides tips on how parents and children can cope with the stress of divorce

Clerk of the Superior Court in of Maricopa County

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Daly Law Firm - Phoenix Custody Lawyer

Child custody is sometimes difficult and confusing. It is best to get legal advice from the very beginning of your divorce case to ensure your rights are protected and you are able to maintain legal and physical custody over your child. Our Scottsdale family lawyer, Doug Daly, has the knowledge and experience to help you successfully reach a child custody agreement. If you are going through a divorce in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, or Maricopa County area, don’t hesitate to call (480) 607-8308 for a free consultation regarding your child custody questions and concerns.

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