Disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only and are not to be considered a substitute for professional legal advice or a consultation with a lawyer.
1. Family Law Tip of The Week
Begin the New Year and your new life on a different note that you are dictating, not that someone else is dictating.
2. Factors Affecting Your Custody Case
All For The Children
In all of the United States, what is in the best interest of the children controls child custody cases. Whether your state has five factors or 15 factors, anything that relates to the best interest of your children is relevant to your case.
In this episode, we explore the Arizona Guidelines to provide the audience an outline for looking at the things that are going to help or hurt their custody cases.
“One of these factors is not gonna overwrite everything else. The court is gonna look at everything– The conglomeration of all the factors in making its determination.”
The court is going to look at the past, present, and potential future relationship between parent and child. The court will hear about the history of the involvement of the parent in the past, while the court will also weigh the parent’s intentions moving forward.
The court is going to look at the interaction and interrelationship of the child with you and the other parent, any brothers and sisters the child might have, as well as any other person who might significantly affect the interest of the child. The court has ways to finding these things out without putting the child on the stand. Not only is the court going to look at the relationship between the child and brothers and sisters, but it may look at new boyfriends/girlfriends or roommates.
The court wants to know what is happening with the child’s performance/behavior at home, school, and the community. The court is going to evaluate how well each of the parents is going to be able to accommodate the child’s needs moving forward and to what extent.
The court will look at, if the child is of suitable age and maturity, the wishes of the child. An older child’s wishes will weigh more heavily if he/she has preference about where they want to live.
The court is going to look at the mental and physical health of all individuals involved. As part of your court case, all of your medical history (past and present) will become relevant especially if there’s something serious there.
The court will determine which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful, and continuing contact with the other parent. If it is proven that a parent has rendered manipulative tactics to prevent the other parent from seeing their child (before and after the custody case), the court will weigh such actions heavily in legal decision-making decisions.
The court will look at whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay to increase the cost of litigation, or to persuade the court to give legal decision-making or parenting time preference to the other parent.
The court determines whether there’s been domestic violence or child abuse. Domestic violence can range from verbal abuse all the way to the worst kind of physical abuse. The court will not want to put the child(ren) in the position of having to witness abuse by the parent.
In Arizona, there are specific actions needed to overcome a presumption that comes with a documented domestic violence: You will have to take affirmative steps to show the court that you can overcome that presumption.
The court wants to know the nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding legal decision-making or parenting time. If you were forced to sign an agreement, you have to show the court how it is that you were forced.
In Arizona, the parents have to take a Parent Information program which basically instructs them on what to do and what not to do when they’re going through this situation and have children.
The court is going to determine whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting or child abuse or neglect. If it can be proven that you have committed a crime and the crime relates to your credibility or your ability to tell the truth, that is going to hurt your ability to convince the judge.
2 Aspects Of Custody (Arizona)
The first aspect relates to decision-making about who is going to be making the major decisions in the lives of the children. Major decisions mean decisions related to religion, education, medicine, and personal care decisions.
The second aspect relates to how much time each parent is seeing the child on an ongoing basis (parenting time schedule). During parenting time, a parent has the right to make routine decisions as it relates to the child.
There Is Hope
“There are a lot of strategies that you can use in supporting your custody case.”
Remember that if there’s a factor that is going to hurt you, there are a lot of other ways you can redeem yourself. There’s not just one factor, there are several factors. Use any factor that you can to your advantage. Back it up with documentation, witness statements, witness testimony, text messages, emails, photos, etc.—But above all, think about what’s best for your children.