Before you decide which style of custody seems best for you, your child, and your co-parent, consult with a lawyer from Arizona Family Law Attorneys. We can help determine the important responsibilities of each type of custody and which will assist you and your co-parent in deciding what options are best. Never tackle an important legal situation on your own, as there is absolutely no room for error in the context of dealing with a child’s well-being. Even the strongest of co-parent relationships will face obstacles as their child ages, so it’s in every modern family’s best interest to consult with legal counsel early to mitigate any risk for failure.

Joint custody, Sole custody, and Legal Custody: Which Option is Best for My Family?

The most common type of custody is joint custody, which enables two parents to make important legal, financial and medical agreements in conjunction with one another in the best interest of their child. As long as both parents are proven to be reliable and fit to parent, family court judges will often begin with joint custody as per Arizona State law. Parents who are not married or have become separated will raise their children with an equal amount of influence on their child’s important life decisions. If the joint custody proves to be failing and the interests of the child are not met, a family court judge will amend the type of custody that applies to your child in order to ensure they’re receiving proper care.

How Does Joint Custody Work?

When joint custody dictates that both parents have a legal obligation to work in conjunction to raise their child, even apart. A child often spends half of their time with one parent and the other half with the other. Parents who have joint custody of their child are legally required to create and sign a parenting plan that outlines the framework of this agreement, and the responsibilities of each parent. When two adults have joint custody of a child, it’s because those adults are non-married and not in a legal domestic partnership. Because of this, both parents may date other people and possibly marry someone else. If a parent’s new partner is determined to be harmful to the child, joint custody may be reexamined in court.

What If Joint Custody Just Isn’t Possible?

If joint custody fails, both parents must stand before a judge and reconsider their co-parenting plan. Based upon evidence brought forth in court, an Arizona state judge will determine if sole custody is in the best interest of the child. Substantial evidence that leads to sole custody can range from neglect and child abuse to a parent’s involvement with drugs and alcohol. Sole custody is a child custody arrangement where only one parent is granted the legal responsibility of caring for a child. Sole custody means caring for the child in every capacity—medically, financially, etc.

There is nothing more important than the safety and security of your child. If you are co-parenting a child in Phoenix, Arizona or nearby, and you have concerns for determining custody, contact a local law firm that handles family law today for a no-obligation consultation.