adam weingart, esq.

Child Custody Lawyer

Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Queen Creek & San Tan Valley

4500 S. Lakeshore Dr. Tempe, AZ 85282

(480) 542-0099

GET A CONSULTATION WITH ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER ADAM WEINGART, ESQ.

Divorcing parents or parents who were never married have the unique situation of having to decide on child custody. There’s a good reason why child custody is the most emotionally charged and conflicted type of case that is litigated.

The Weingart Family Law Firm’s experience and understanding of Arizona family law can help you find effective solutions to any child custody or parenting time situation you might be facing.

Our valley-wide child custody lawyer advises and represents Arizona parents whose child custody or visitation rights stand to be affected by a former spouse.

Custody is split into two parts, physical and legal. The court determines or approves physical and legal custody arrangements for each child.

Physical Child Custody

The actual living arrangements of the child and the rights and responsibilities associated with daily childcare.

Legal Child Custody

The right to decide the child’s upbringing concerning education, health care, and religion. Also called: Legal Decision-Making.

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Arizona Family Law

Common Child Custody Solutions

Questions of custody usually arise when a divorcing couple with children decides to separate or when parents who have never been married are unable to co-parent any longer. While some couples immediately agree on short- or long-term custody, others require court intervention for a long-term solution. Remember, when determining child custody the courts will always look at the factors contained in §25-403, §25-403.01, and §25-403.03 if there is domestic violence involved in a case. Child Custody through the Arizona Family Courts may be addressed in the following ways:

Legal Child Custody

OPTION 1

Joint Legal Custody

Both parents have the right to equal power when making decisions regarding the minor children or child (see A.R.S. §25-401).

Legal Child Custody

OPTION 2

Joint Legal With One Parent Having Final Say

Like joint legal except one parent has the “final say” to make a decision regarding the minor children after discussing the matter with the other parent.

Legal Child Custody

OPTION 3

Sole Legal

One parent has the right to make all major decisions concerning the child or children. In Arizona, this usually happens if there is a history of abuse, neglect, or substance dependence.

Physical Child Custody

OPTION 1

Parents Share Equal Parenting Time

The Arizona legislature has stated that: “It also is the declared public policy of this state and the general purpose of this title that absent evidence to the contrary, it is in a child’s best interest: To have substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing parenting time with both parents (A.R.S. §25-103). This means that courts have historically decided that the default parenting plan is an equal parenting time plan for both parents unless there is a good reason for an unequal plan. However, recent case law has changed this.

Physical Child Custody

OPTION 2

Parents Share An Unequal Plan

One party is declared the primary residential parent or custodial parent and the other parent gets parenting time usually during the weekends or a few nights per week. The recent Arizona Court of Appeals decision: Smith v. Smith has ruled that the presumption that equal parenting time is in the minor children’s best interest may not, in fact, be a correct conclusion of law.

Physical Child Custody

OPTION 3

A Long Distance Parenting Time Plan

When one parent moves so far away that a regular parenting time schedule is no longer feasible then the Court may order that the parties exercise a long-distance parenting time plan. This means that one party will get most of the minor children’s school breaks and parenting time once a month if reasonable pursuant to A.R.S. §25-408.

Phoenix & Tempe

Child Custody Determination

Family court judges in Arizona strongly prefer that parents resolve issues concerning child custody by negotiated agreement rather than by litigation. In some situations, however, questions of custody and parenting time access cannot be resolved so smoothly.

Temporary Orders Hearing

Shortly after the initial papers are filed seeking dissolution of a marriage, the family court may hold a temporary order hearing and issue an order that controls legal aspects of the parties’ relationship until it grants the final divorce decree. When custody is contested, the order creates a temporary custody solution. Unless there is evidence that doing so would not be in the child’s best interests, temporary custody is typically granted to the person who stays in the marital home. Temporary custody orders should have no bearing on which party will ultimately be awarded permanent custody. However, the temporary custody order may indicate which parent the court thinks is the more suitable depending on the circumstances.

Mandatory Mediation

Many states now require that parties in a contested divorce attempt mediation. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process in which divorcing couples work with a neutral third party to resolve their disagreements. Couples may resolve child custody while keeping other issues like property division open for a judge to decide or vice versa. If there isn’t any property and a case is merely about child custody, a parenting coordinator can be appointed to mediate the issue of children alone. It is common for judges to order that a final divorce agreement contain a mandatory mediation clause which makes parents return to mediation before the court getting involved in any future disagreements.

Custody Evaluation

Some courts will order a custody evaluation before trial if the parties cannot reach a custody agreement. A court-appointed advisor is appointed by the judge and makes a report directly to the judge. The evaluation includes interviews with both parents and the children, observation of the children; conversations with teachers; and possible psychological testing of both parents and children. It can take four to twelve weeks to conclude a custody evaluation. When a custody evaluation has been ordered, the court usually will not enter a final custody determination until the evaluation has been completed.

Trial

In Arizona, the gold standard in child custody trial is: what are the child’s best interests? Considerations that go into the best interest determination may include a review of the child’s age and attachment to the parent who has been the primary caretaker; physical and mental health of the parents; any history of domestic violence; and the child’s wishes, depending upon the age of the child and the motivation for the preference.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Featured Testimonial

My name is Alex, and I was representing myself in court before hiring Adam Weingart. My son was removed from Arizona by his mother, who would not return or allow me to see him. After fighting for my rights for months, I learned the hard way that in family law, a man representing himself is a losing battle. I contacted Adam very late in my case, about 6 weeks before I had a trial. He responded within hours, and we set a meeting within days. His professionalism and work ethic gave me the confidence to continue my fight. To make a long story short, I won my case and even came out of the situation with more than I asked for. Without Adam Weingart being by my side, I would have lost everything I was fighting for. I could never thank Adam enough for what he has done for me.”

ALEX

DIVORCE CLIENT

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