What is joint custody in Phoenix?

Phoenix, AZ – Each state has different custody laws related to how parents must share time with their children. One of the most common arrangements is joint custody, where there is some kind of shared responsibility for raising the child. However, this is not necessarily an even split of time and resources dedicated by each parent. Because custody hearings and disputes can be stressful and confusing times, it is recommended that any parent dealing with these issues find representation from a licensed attorney. 

Joint custody definitions

There are actually a few different concepts related to joint custody under Arizona law with their own definitions. There is no presumption toward any particular custody arrangement under the state’s family laws. 

Joint physical custody is when a child’s physical presence with a parent in their home or time with them is shared between the two parents. This usually means that the custody time is split in half, although the arrangement may not exactly be a fifty percent split. 

Joint legal custody is the term for decisions that are made related to the child’s upbringing. In a joint legal custody arrangement, both parents are given equal input related to decisions such as healthcare, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. One parent’s opinion is not supposed to be taken more seriously than the other within this arrangement. Joint legal custody can be granted in situations even where only one parent has physical custody due to the fact that there can still be input from a parent who is not physically present. 

How are these arrangements decided?

If the two parents can agree on a custody plan, the courts can make the agreement legally binding. This tends to be the simplest way for parents to avoid disputes and court battles. If the judge needs to intervene, they will have the final say on custody and related matters. Their decisions will be guided by a standard known as the best interests of the child. The judge may consider factors such as the parents’ work schedules, their employment situation and income, the child’s educational needs, and misconduct or abuse by either parent when making this decision. 

If changes need to be made at a later time, the parent or both parties must make a formal request to the court. They cannot simply just start a new custody plan on their own without court approval. In practice, it may take some time before the order is actually changed and a new one is legally binding. 

Advice from local family law attorneys

Schneider and Onofry is a family law firm that assists people in Phoenix and other parts of Arizona. They can provide advice during divorces, child custody issues, alimony issues, and all related matters. 

Firm contact info:

Schneider & Onofry, P.C.

365 E Coronado Road, Phoenix AZ 85004



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