Find The Best Child Custody Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ
Divorce and separation are not easy issues to deal with. When children are involved, it can be extremely stressful and overwhelming to search for a child custody lawyer in addition to the ongoing divorce process. Knowing what to look for in a child custody lawyer is important, and can help relieve the stress you may be experiencing. Trusting someone with the fate of your family and children is significant, which is why you’ll want to find a lawyer whose experience and skill can ease your worries.
What to Look For in a Good Child Custody Lawyer in AZ
Finding a good child custody lawyer is crucial for the success of your child custody case. There are a few basic qualities you should look for in any prospective child custody lawyer to ensure they have the expertise needed for your success. These qualities include the following.
Your attorney should have experience with child custody cases like yours. There are, of course, many different areas of family law, and family law attorneys often practice many or all of them. It’s important to hire an attorney with experience in child custody cases so they have the expertise, skills, and background best suited to help you.
Your attorney should be accessible to you. Hire a child custody lawyer in Arizona who doesn’t have too much on their plate, so that you know they can dedicate the time and energy to you and your child. It’s also important to ensure the attorney or their team is readily available by phone, email, or in person.
Understanding and Compassion
Child custody cases are a hard time for everyone involved. You need to hire a lawyer who understands that and can help you through the situation with care and compassion. Having an attorney who cares about your best interests and is willing to help you through them can ensure you a more positive outcome to your case.
Creative Negotiation Skills
Your attorney should be able to negotiate and think creatively. As with any lawyer, you want to hire a professional attorney who can argue well and think quickly in a stressful situation. Child custody cases require an attorney with confidence in their abilities in and out of the courtroom, and the ability to prepare for many unexpected hurdles along the way.
How to Evaluate a Child Custody Lawyer in AZ
If you don’t have an attorney in mind, ask friends or family to recommend child custody attorneys, or conduct a search online. Once you’ve narrowed your initial results to some of the best child custody attorneys in the area, look through the reviews to identify those with the previous qualities. Then, you’ll need to evaluate your finalists before making a decision.
Don’t stop at the recommendation or research stage. It’s important to learn how to evaluate a child custody lawyer yourself. Knowing what you should look for to be sure that your prospective lawyer is fully equipped to help you, can boost your chances for success in your case. Every child custody case is different, and you need someone who is suited for your unique circumstances and needs.
Here is how to evaluate your list of finalists:
Check for Similar Past Work
You know your situation best, which is why it’s important to check whether your prospective attorney has experience with cases similar to yours. Specifics to look for could include long distances between parents, a jurisdiction issue, abuse, parental conflict, or special needs children. Look for an attorney who has experience with cases like yours with a solid track record of success in those cases. This experience and knowledge regarding your case type also affords the attorney the ability to give you an idea regarding how long your particular case might take and the expenses involved.
Ask Questions and State Your Concerns
When meeting with and interviewing a potential attorney, such as during a free consultation, you should voice any and all concerns and questions you have. This has several benefits. First, it can give you the information you need to evaluate the attorney, such as their experience in child custody cases. It can also give you an insight into their personality as well as their style, both of which are useful when deciding if they are the right match for you and your situation. Asking questions will also make it clear how approachable the attorney is and can help you determine how comfortable you are talking with them.
Questions you can ask:
- How many child custody cases have you handled?
- Why do you choose to handle child custody cases?
- How long have you been in practice?
- How many cases have you tried?
- What options do I have to resolve my custody case? Are the outcomes favorable?
- How available are you? Do you keep in touch with updates?
- What is your approach to child custody cases?
- What do you charge for a case like mine?
Look for Lawyers With Local Ties and Experience
As mentioned above, it is important to find a child custody lawyer in Arizona who is accessible to you, and a local attorney is obviously far more accessible than an attorney located outside your area. However, local ties are about far more than the ability to meet in person to discuss. A local lawyer will have more experience with the laws in the state of Arizona and your particular county. They will also have good professional relationships with the court, which can help your case.
Finding a local attorney will also allow you to rely on local references. Checking with family and friends, as well as other parents and peers in the area, can help you find someone who has gained the trust of your community. You can also evaluate lawyers through the state bar association, court clerks, or a local attorney directory, to check the good standing of a local attorney you may be considering.
Find a Child Custody Lawyer Who is Trustworthy
It’s important to trust your instincts when hiring a lawyer for such an important case. If a potential attorney seems disinterested or appears to be avoiding questions, you should look for another child custody attorney. Trust also involves finding an attorney who is compassionate and shows a genuine interest and care for the stress you’re going through, as well as the importance of your case. The rest of your family’s future is at stake, and both you and your child deserve a lawyer who cares enough to do what’s best for you.
Arizona Courts Consider the Child’s Best Interests
Arizona family court assesses a number of factors to evaluate your case and find the best solution for everyone involved. However, the primary consideration is the best interests of the child or children involved. This ensures the child has access to the environment and parenting time that will give them the best chance for success, both now and in the future.
To aid this process, it is important to prepare to discuss your relationship with your child. Your child custody attorney will gather information regarding each parent’s role in the child’s life, such as involvement in medical care, education, special needs, extracurricular activities, and more.
They will also highlight the relationship between the child and each parent, as well as geographical proximity between children and parents, and any history of violence or abuse. Preparation can involve providing statements, references, or witnesses who have observed the relationship between child and parents. This information can help the court ensure any decision is in the best interests of the child.
Child custody lawyers aim to reduce the impact a separation or divorce has on your child by finding an agreeable solution quickly. This allows you to spend the most time together while considering the safety of all parties.
Factors a Judge Considers Determining Custody
It’s important to know what a judge will assess when determining whether your proposed custody agreement is in the best interests of your child or children. An experienced child custody lawyer will be able to address these factors with you and determine how they might affect the outcome.
Judges look at:
- Parental stability
- Criminal history of parents
- The child’s age
- The child’s wishes, particularly if they are 12 or older
- Parental ability to care for a child
- Interaction and relationship between child and parents
- Wishes of the parents
- The adjustment, well-being, and health of your child
- The current primary caregiver of your child
- Whether each parent encourages visits with the other parent
- Any parental coercion while reaching an agreement
- Any false allegations of child or domestic abuse by the other parent
- Any parental history of child or domestic abuse
- Any parental history of substance dependence
- Any parental history of legal issues, gambling issues, and more
All these aspects may affect the outcome of your case. It is crucial to secure the help of a lawyer with experience in any area of concern so you can receive the best outcome.
Legal Custody Versus Physical Custody
It’s important to understand the different types of custody in Arizona. If you want to know how to get full custody in Arizona, you should understand that full custody entails both legal and physical custody.
Joint legal custody involves both parents sharing the decision-making rights and responsibilities for their child or children. Often, this includes decisions regarding health and well-being, education, and residence. In Arizona, legal custody is usually referred to as legal decision-making rights.
Sole legal custody occurs when only one parent has the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the health and well-being of the child.
Joint physical custody refers to when the child or children live with both parents on a roughly equal basis. In Arizona, physical custody is usually referred to as parenting time.
Sole physical custody occurs when a child lives primarily with one parent, while the other may or may not retain visitation rights. Visitation may consist of limited visitation on the weekends, summers at the non-custodial parent’s home, or even supervised visitation. Having sole physical custody often means that one parent also makes the decisions regarding health and well-being, and is the primary custodial parent in the eyes of the law.
Why It’s Important to Hire an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer
Hiring a child custody lawyer does add another layer of financial concern to an already stressful divorce situation. However, to ensure the best outcome for you and your family, securing assistance from an experienced lawyer is key. In fact, there are several benefits to hiring a child custody attorney.
You’ll Lessen Your Stress
A child custody lawyer has experience in the intricacies of Arizona family court and the various statutes that surround child custody in the state. Further, they are not also tasked with handling the emotional, financial, and even physical stress a divorce can impose. Don’t struggle with your case alone—contact a trusted child custody attorney to help.
Fewer Case Mistakes
A child custody case taken on by parents under extreme stress and experiencing high emotions is bound to be riddled with mistakes. Even small mistakes could make a bad impression on a judge, while larger errors could lead to fines, the dismissal of your case, and other setbacks. An experienced lawyer knows the long list of legal requirements regarding a custody case and can advise you and act accordingly.
An experienced child custody attorney knows the complexities of the Arizona family court system, as well as the specifics regarding child custody cases. With a skilled lawyer to help you meet each of the requirements set forth by the court, you won’t waste time backtracking and searching for paperwork on your own. This way, the case will move more smoothly and you’ll have your ruling much sooner.
Enforcing Court Decisions
While court orders in regards to child custody are legally binding, there are some parents who ignore them, whether out of desperation or ill intent. A child custody lawyer can help you petition the court to uphold the original court order regarding child custody and visitation. If the court orders are consistently being ignored, a child custody lawyer could help you seek sole custody.
Arizona Child Custody Law
Finding a qualified, Arizona child custody lawyer addresses monumental issues but should be free of stress. What’s most important is that you find representation that’s best for you and your situation.
The impact of a child custody case can be enormous, and it’s important to avoid risking an unfavorable child custody order. Knowing what to look for in a good child custody lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona and learning how to evaluate whether an attorney is right for you can make the process less stressful. Overall, a more streamlined process can allow you to move more quickly to the next stage of your life.
Discuss Your Case with Our Dedicated Arizona Child Custody Lawyers
At The Valley Law Group, our experienced custody attorneys understand how important a custody determination can be.
We will listen to your personal goals and stand up for your rights as a parent.
Please call today to learn more at 480-300-6012.
*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published April 1, 2021 and has been revised September 15, 2022.
Ryan Reppucci, Co-Founder of The Valley Law Group, is recognized as one of Phoenix’s leading family law attorneys. After graduating from Arizona State with the highest honors and inclusion in America’s most prestigious student honor societies, Ryan attended the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. His career as a law student was decorated with numerous awards, including the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Book Award, nomination for membership in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities, as well as Moot Court.