The Word Custody is Gone


If you're in the midst of a divorce involving minor children, or you're considering a divorce in the near future, things have changed in Arizona.  Custody has been the problem word in divorces for many years, because the term appears to mean "possession" meaning who has the child and when; legal practitioners know it doesn't mean that.

Custody is mostly used in the legal arena to define who can make key life's decision about a child.  So the term "Joint Custody" never meant that both parents would have equal time with the child, rather it only meant that both parents had to cooperate in making key decision affecting the child's educational, health, and religious decisions. 

The time that a parent spent with his or her child was always called "visitation" which has negative connotations, and the good news is that this is all changing. Gone are the terms "Custody" and "Visitation."

Now in Arizona, parents have to start thinking about this all differently.  Now the court will have nothing to do with the word custody, but rather decide upon the allocation of "Parent's Decision Making Ability" and "Parenting Time."  This would include what the law defines as significant decision responsibilities (a lot like the old custody decisions), and "Parenting Time" (a lot like the old visitation).

How does this affect your divorce: 

(1) the new law will likely not cut down on litigation, because by and large the big issues will remain big issues, they're just called something different;

(2) cutting down the time limit by which to do get a custody decision done will only hurt parents that are married to people with significant psychological issues (no time for a full psychiatric custody evaluation, leaving an untrained Guardian Ad Litem at the mercy of very likable parents with Borderline Personality Disorders, and Narcissists);

(3) the new law will hopefully cut out those parents seeking more time with the children only to avoid paying support, as the right of first refusal is now provided by statute, and if your spouse leaves the care to someone else, you can step in and argue for the child back; and

(4) Judges have now leaned to suggesting a more common 50-50 parenting time schedule to cut down litigation.

In all these are big changes, and I'm only mentioning a few here in this article.  Feel free to contact me for more information.  

For more information about Custody Laws
Please call:
Paul D. Nordini, Esq.
(480) 527-9000

Nordini & Thompson
Divorce and Custody Lawyers