Resolving Tough Arizona Child Custody Issues With RPM Law
In 2013, Arizona dropped the terms “legal custody” and “child custody” and replaced them with the term “Legal Decision-Making.”
Although the general public may still 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 may be shared by both (Joint Legal Decision-Making authority).
Areas of decision-making that fall under this requirement include:
- Educational and academic decisions
- Healthcare and medical treatment related decisions
- Faith upbringing
- In some cases, substantial cosmetic changes
- High-risk activities
- For older children, issues regarding tattoos and piercings
Deciding who has Legal Decision-Making authority occurs in the Superior Court of 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 (i.e., they must have stood in the role of a parent), 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 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 what existed under the old child custody language, which tended to divide parents into winners and losers.