Understanding the New Child Custody Law

As of January 1, 2013, a new child custody law took effect in Arizona, affecting the terminology used in this branch of family law as well as the type of court-ordered arrangements made in family law cases involving children. The law’s main impact is a new-found emphasis requiring Arizona family law courts to issue plans maximizing the time both parents spend with their child. The law also forbids custody preference based on the child’s or parent’s gender. Tucson family lawyers offer counsel regarding your rights and obligations under this new law.

Changes to legal and physical custody

Parents will now file petitions for parenting time if they wish to be granted what was previously known as physical custody of their child. Legal custody, or the ability to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, will now be known as legal decision-making authority. The new law broadens the scope of the parent’s authority for legal decision-making. This authority was previously limited to matters involving the child’s health and education but now includes personal-care matters such as ear piercing and grooming.

Stricter fines and notification requirements

The new law empowers Arizona family law courts to fine a parent who lies to the court or attempts to delay the case proceedings the court costs and attorneys’ fees incurred. In addition, a parent is required under the new law to notify the child’s other parent if he or she is thinking about moving a significant distance away with the child.

If you are involved in child custody proceedings, the new Arizona law is likely to affect your case. The trusted Legal Decision Making, Parenting Time attorneys at the Benavidez Law Group, P.C. will aggressively pursue a child custody arrangement to best suit you and your child’s needs. Contact us today for your initial consultation.