Why Arizona Really Isn’t a Mother’s Rights State

by | Mar 17, 2014 | Child Custody, Legal Decision-Making, Parenting, Parenting Time, Wendy Hernandez Blog

Why Arizona Really Isn’t a Mother’s Rights State

There are tons of urban myths circulating in the world when it comes to family law. One of those myths is that Arizona is a “mother’s rights state”. Sorry moms…

It’s not.

Still…if you are a mom, don’t lose hope. And if you are a dad, don’t get on your high horse just yet.

Arizona isn’t a father’s rights state, either.

Arizona is a children’s rights state.

During any contested custody (legal decision-making) proceeding, the guiding legal principle for your judge (in making decisions in your case) is what is in “the best interest of the children.” In fact (lucky for you), you can gauge how a judge will decide what is best for the kids by looking at this list of factors. Gone are the days in which mothers received legal and physical custody JUST BECAUSE they were the mothers.

Pregnant Lady Justice

The longer I practice law, the more the progressive the family law judges become. Our society is no longer one in which a divorcing dad is defeated before the battle begins JUST BECAUSE he is a dad. In fact, even if a father hasn’t been the most involved parent in the past, in the course of a divorce or custody proceeding, his statement that he intends to be more involved in the kids’ future actually carries weight. This statement will carry HEAVY weight if the father puts his money where his mouth is by doing things like actually modifying a work schedule, making it to more parent-teacher conferences, showing up at soccer games and so on…

Most judges will want to give this father (assuming he is “fit”) the benefit of the doubt. Most judges believe the potential well-being and well-roundedness of the children will override the fact that the father was less involved in raising the kids than he wants to be now. In other words, if a father is willing (available) and able (fit), chances are that he is going to get to spend a significant amount of time (and have quite a bit of say) when it comes to his children after a divorce.

If there are two involved and fit parents who want “say-so” in the lives of their children, judges are going to do their best to make this happen.

In Arizona, mothers and fathers are considered equal to one another. Each of them has something unique to offer their children. Each parent has different strengths (and weaknesses) than the other that benefit the children in varied ways. The fact that one parent might be more or less strict than the other provides balance to the kids which benefits the children in the long run.

If they were to be asked (prior to being influenced or alienated against one parent or the other), children would express that they want mommy AND daddy in their lives. Children NEED both mommies and daddies in their lives. Luckily, their little hearts are up for the challenge:

Children have no limits when it comes to the amount of love they can receive.

In fact, the more love and support you and your ex can give your children, the more they will shine in life. By facilitating the involvement of the other parent in the lives of your kids, you are setting them up for future healthy relationships of their own. Future healthy relationships will mean future happiness for them, too.

If you could do everything in your power so that your children could be happy, would you?

Well…you can. Here’s how:

Remember during your custody case that Arizona isn’t a mother’s rights state. It isn’t a father’s rights state, either.

Arizona is a children’s rights state.

Make decisions about your case and your lives always considering what is best…

…for your kids.

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