Resolving Tough Child Custody Issues

In 2013, Arizona dropped the terms "legal custody" and "child custody" in state law, replacing them with the term "Legal Decision-Making."

Although the general public still may refer to custody when talking about parenting arrangements after a divorce or separation, the change in law acknowledges that children generally benefit from the presence of both parents in their life. The legal responsibility for making life decisions may rest with one parent (sole Legal Decision-Making authority) or it may be shared by both (joint Legal Decision-Making authority).

Areas of decision-making that fall under this requirement include:

  • Who is responsible for the child's day-to-day care?
  • Who makes decisions affecting the best interests of the child: medical decisions, school choice, church and other activities occurring outside school?

Deciding who has Legal Decision-Making authority occurs in the Superior Court in the county where the child resides

What Does In Loco Parentis Mean?

Sometimes, a person who is not the child's parent may petition for Legal Decision-Making authority. That person must meet certain statutory requirements: they must have been treated as a parent by the child, and they must have formed a meaningful parental relationship with the child for a substantial period of time.

A Kinder Approach To Assigning Parental Responsibilities

At RPM Law, our attorneys are experienced in both the legal requirements of establishing decision-making authority, and in the process by which it is decided. We work with all types of families, including military families, to arrive at decisions that sincerely address each child's best interests.

It's a kinder, gentler approach to assigning parental responsibilities than existed under the old child custody language, which tended to divide parents into winners and losers. To learn how our lawyers can help guide you to a satisfactory resolution, call our Tucson office at 520-740-1802 or email us your questions. We offer free initial consultations.