Child Custody Disputes: How do courts decide issues of child custody and support?

Mesa, AZ family law attorney Paul C. Riggs talks about how child custody is determined and the amount of time each parent could potentially get with visitation with their kid.

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You know legal decision making in parenting time is what they used to call custody and visitation. So legal decision making is the four main factors of where they’re going to go to school, their doctors, their medical issues, their extracurricular issues and even religious issues. Those are legal decision-making issues primarily. And the courts lean towards the fact that both parents are considered fit. Unless you can show a fitness issue with regard to one parent or the other, they will share joint legal decision making. And as a result, they’ll both have to jointly reach a conclusion with regard to their kids.

But usually, they follow what he schoolteacher says. Usually, they follow what he doctor says. Oft times they’re in the same religion so it’s not a difficult issue. Extracurricular becomes a pressing issue sometimes if it takes the time of a parent’s time that they would be spending with their kids on their weekend per se.

And parenting time is also another factor that they look at. The courts lean towards equal parenting time, which would mean that they‘d be with one parent half the time and the other parent the other half the time. So it’s hard sometimes for parents to realize they’re not going to be with their kids all the time. And helping the parent understand the expectation that comes with that to help them understand that you don’t need to be with your kids all the time and maybe it’s good to have a break once in a while from your kids so that you can enjoy some things on your own and build your own life as well. It’s still difficult for especially mothers to recognize that but it’s something that typically the court does.

They look at equal parenting time if both parents are fit. Even with the age of the kids being young, three and four years old they find a way to divide it whether it’s two days and two days and three days. It just depends but being without one parent it’s the kids that’s the best interest they look at. And that’s the standard they look at is what’s in the best interest of the kids. So even the parents think that they should be with them, the parents should think about what the kid should have in regard to a mom and a dad.

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