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Phoenix Divorce Law Blog

How is child custody determined in Arizona?

Parents facing child custody concerns in Arizona may wonder how they will be addressed through the family law process. It is important for them to ensure that all of their questions are answered and concerns handled because of how important child custody concerns are to children and families.

Child custody arrangements may be either joint custody or sole custody. In addition, there are two types of child custody including physical custody and legal custody. Both types of child custody can be either joint custody or sole custody. Legal custody refers to which parent makes important decisions for the child such as those related to the child's upbringing including religious, educational and healthcare-related decisions. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with. Commonly, the non-custodial parent will have visitation rights.

How alimony decisions are made in Arizona

Alimony can be a controversial issue during a divorce, which is why it is helpful for divorcing couples to be familiar with the process in Arizona. Understanding how alimony decisions are made can help divorcing couples know what to expect so the alimony process can be resolved as easily as possible.

Alimony is not determined according to guidelines but is based on the evaluation of a variety of factors. The factors are used to determine how much alimony will be awarded and for how long. The duration of alimony is an important consideration for both the paying spouse and the recipient spouse.

What is the purpose of child support?

A divorce can be an emotionally and financially precarious time for an Arizona resident. If a person does not work outside the home because they support their family, they may worry about where they will come up with money to provide for their own post-divorce needs. If they are the breadwinner for their family, they may have concerns about providing their ex-spouse with alimony in the future.

The parties to a divorce may not be the only ones with worries. Children may not understand why their parents are choosing to divorce and they may be scared of what will happen when they do. A child's life can be turned upside down by divorce if they have to move, change schools, or alter their lives to accommodate the needs of their parents.

Visitation may be ordered in lieu of custody

Parents who separate or divorce and share minor children generally must stay involved with each other until their children reach the age of majority. When a parental relationship dissolves, the parties may work together or go to court to settle how they will contribute to the welfare and development of their children.

Child custody can involve matters related to a child's physical care, as well as their legal care. Parents may share legal custody and physical custody, or one parent may be given physical custody while the parties share legal custody. How custodial matters are resolved will depend on the facts and circumstances of each individual case.

Understanding the rights of unmarried fathers

The rights of unmarried fathers have often been compromised when it comes to their involvement in the day-to-day lives of their children. In recent times, however, fathers' rights have evolved and that has led to the "tender years' doctrine" of yesteryears-which said that a mother should have custody of a young child-taking a back seat. As a result of this development, there have been great advances in bridging the gap that historically existed between unmarried fathers and children born out of wedlock.

A landmark event in this direction was when the United States Supreme Court ruled that unmarried fathers have parental rights, too. The ruling was a result of the multiple petitions that were filed against the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which terminated the parental rights of unmarried fathers when the mother chose to place the child for adoption without the consent of the father. According to the court, the biological link between the child and the father gave that father the right to establish a substantial relation with the child and to be an integral part of the child's upbringing.

Ease divorce challenges with strong legal representation

Marriage can be tough, and when the challenges of legal relationships become too much, some Arizona residents decide to go through the divorce process. A divorce breaks the bonds that unite two lives together and allows them to resume their separate existences. But, a divorce is about so much more than an ending; it is about setting up a new beginning for the individuals and their families.

Because divorce can introduce uncertainty into the lives of the parties and their kids, it can be incredibly stressful. Concerns may range from being able to afford a residence on one's own, to where their children will reside, to whether they will be able to secure financial support from their ex. Completing a divorce and coming out on the other side with one's life not just in tact but actually thriving is the goal for many who engage in the process.

Does every divorce yield an alimony award?

Alimony can be a long-term legal commitment that exists between two people who were formerly married. In Arizona, both men and women can be ordered to pay alimony to their exes, and those alimony payments can take on different forms and can last for different amounts of time. However, not every divorce results in an alimony award because not all marriages have one spouse who is financially dependent on their ex.

Alimony is only necessary when one party to a divorce will be unable to provide for themselves in the wake of their marital dissolution. A person who stopped working decades earlier to raise the parties' children may be ill-prepared to enter the workforce once their marriage is over, and it is in these types of situations that alimony may be appropriate. However, if both parties have careers and are financially capable of meeting their own post-divorce needs, alimony may not necessary.

Mistakes, fraud can lead to false paternity results

As past posts on this blog have noted, paternity is an important legal concept when it comes to preserving a man's parental rights. If a man is not legally recognized as a child's father, then he may lose opportunities to secure custody and visitation with his child, or to stop an adoption if the child's mother chooses not to keep the child. Paternity can be established through a variety of different genetic tests.

As with all medical procedures and assessments, problems can arise when genetic material is submitted for paternity testing. In some cases, genetic material may be tampered with in order to change the results of a paternity assessment. In other situations, mistakes made by labs or during collection processes may affect whether a man is proven to be a child's biological parent.

Celebrity divorces takes years to resolve

Though the notoriety and financial benefits of celebrity may appeal to some Phoenix residents, few individuals would actually like to live under the spotlight of Hollywood fame. Celebrities are subjected to a level of scrutiny that may cause some to flee for more normal existences, so they don't have to see every misstep of their lives played out in the news. One former celebrity couple has made the news for years as they have attempted to end their highly publicized marriage.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were married in 2014 but Jolie filed for divorce just two years later. The partners share six children, and each has accumulated significant wealth over the span of their Hollywood careers. As of the new year, Pitt and Jolie had still not finalized their divorce and remained technically married; this changed just recently when a judge bifurcated their legal dilemma.

Custody, emergencies, and parents' rights

Child custody is a complicated legal issue that can be treated very differently depending upon the needs and circumstances of an Arizona family's situation. Because of this, it is important that individuals discuss their independent custody questions with their family law attorneys.

Past posts on this blog have discussed the differences between joint and sole custody, as well as legal and physical custody. Parents may share custody of their kids, but that does not mean that each will see their children each and every day. In fact, based upon a schedule that works for them, parents may have their kids several days per week, while their former spouse has them the other days.

Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC is one of the East Valley's premiere litigation law firms.

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