Child Custody Rights in Arizona: A Look into Fathers’ Rights
There are co-parenting set-ups where the non-custodial parent (usually divorced fathers) is prevented from spending time with children. Getting legal help from a child custody lawyer ensures that court-ordered visitation is properly enforced even after divorce.
Enforcement of child custody law in Arizona has differed significantly. Traditionally, custody of the child goes to the mother. Now, courts do not consider gender when assigning legal custody. It is all about the best interest of the child.
Who gets custody?
Under Arizona law, parents can draft their custody arrangements, modifying and finalizing it until they agree. Otherwise, the family court determines who is awarded custody, or rights to legally make decisions for the children.
Following custody laws, the court may award custody to the father. This could be primary physical custody or joint custody. The decision could also be on granting the father parenting time or visitation rights. Again, the court looks into the best interests of the child.
What if we are unmarried?
While you would spare yourself from any dissolution of marriage proceeding, you would have to first establish paternity before the court recognizes your parental rights. A family law attorney can help you with related legal documents.
Fathers may be required to pay for child support, retroactive up to three years or longer before proceedings commence. Note that fathers who neglect to pay child support could have a slimmer chance at custody down the line. You should establish that you can provide the child’s needs, both emotionally and financially.
What if my ex keeps my child?
Such is the cause of most custody disputes. Unless it is because of an emergency or illness, non-custodial parents should insist on following the court-ordered visitation schedule.
It helps to keep a record of the dates when the other parent did not permit them to spend time with their child. An experienced child custody lawyer can help you file a petition for the court to enforce your custody and visitation rights. They can also legally ask your ex or the other parent to cooperate.
While you can file on your own, it’s best to have any legal documents reviewed by someone knowledgeable on family law.
Do not take the child by force, as this can be regarded as parental kidnapping. Also, do not stop paying child support despite the custody violations.
Can my ex be liable?
Keeping a child away from a parent will lead to legal repercussions. If court-ordered custody rules are continuously being ignored, the violating parent may be asked to make up for any missed visitations.
The state may also mandate the violating parent to attend counseling sessions or even initiate mediation to improve the parenting plan.
In extreme cases, the violating parent may be required to pay fines or may even be held for contempt of court. He or she will also cover the legal fees of the non-violating party (usually the noncustodial parent).
Are you having custody issues and need legal help? Let us help you fight for your rights.
For questions on child custody laws or for assistance in bringing custody cases to court, contact us at Dodds Law Firm. Consult with a child custody attorney today.