What do Arizona family courts do to figure out the best interests of the child?

Yuma, AZ – Many areas of family law related to child custody and support depend on what the judge thinks are the best interests of the child. This standard can be somewhat vague and it gives each individual judge room for interpretation of the law, but there are some important factors that are always used when examining a parent for fitness in a custody hearing. The gender of either parent does not create any presumptions or favoritism. Specific questions about this process should be addressed with a local licensed family attorney

The best interests of the child standard

The best interests of the child are essentially made up of a number of different factors that will assist with growing up in a healthy and stable environment. Some of the specific things that a court will consider as interests include the intentions and desires of the child and parent, stability in their home and community, whether either parent has a history of domestic violence or abuse, and each parent’s mental and physical fitness. In custody hearings it is possible that one parent petitioning for primary custody may bring up issues from the other parent’s past such as substance abuse, criminal charges, mental health problems, and financial instability. These negative factors can obviously affect the parent’s ability to create an environment where the best interests of the child are protected. There may also be situations where one parent is simply less interested in becoming a parent and developing a relationship with their children, and they do not contest the other having most of the custody time. 

Parenting plans for custody arrangements

The simplest way for Arizona courts to bypass the determination of the best interests of the child is for both parents to create a parenting plan for shared joint custody and present it at the hearing. The judge will usually agree to this custody arrangement as long as the parents can cater to the best interests of the child through their own planning. In cases where parents agree on most issues within the plan, additional negotiations between the parties and their attorneys may be necessary before a plan is finalized. The parents can possibly end up in court again at a later time if there are disputes or the plan needs to be modified and reviewed again by the same judge. 

Local attorneys who can assist with custody issues

Schneider and Onofry assist people with various matters related to family law in the Yuma area. When a divorce, custody hearing, support hearing, or other issues are upcoming, potential clients can contact the firm for representation and ask about other issues. 

Firm contact info:

Schneider & Onofry, P.C.

207 W. 2nd St., Yuma AZ 85364



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