Parenting Time and Custody in AZ

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No one enters a marriage with the intent of divorcing, but it is important to be prepared for that possibility. This is especially true after a couple has children, as the custody and visitation arrangements can be some of the most contentious issues in a divorce. If you are facing a divorce and have children, it is important to understand how custody and parenting time in Arizona will be determined in your case.

At The Valley Law Group, we understand that sometimes it is in the entire family’s best interest for the parents to go their separate ways. While this is often a difficult decision for both parties, determining custody and parenting time arrangements can be even more challenging.

We are experts in Arizona parental law and can help you understand the process, capitalize on all your rights, and negotiate a parenting plan that is in the best interest of your children.

What is Custody in Arizona?

The concept of custody is the legal right and responsibility of a parent to make decisions about the rearing of their child. In other words, it is the authority that a parent has to make decisions about their child’s health, welfare, and education. Custody can be either sole or joint, and it is important to understand the difference when determining parenting time in Arizona.

Things You Should Know About Custody and Parenting Time

If you and your spouse share joint custody of your children, then both parents have equal decision-making authority about their child’s education, health, and welfare. This means that you will need to come to an agreement on all important decisions affecting your child. If you cannot come to an agreement, then the court will make the decision for you.

If one parent has sole custody of a child, that parent makes all decisions about their welfare, health, and education. The other parent typically has visitation rights and may be consulted on important decisions, but they do not have a say in those outcomes.

What is Parenting Time?

Parenting time, also known as visitation, is the amount of time that a non-custodial parent spends with their child. This can be either supervised or unsupervised, and it is important to understand the difference.

If you have shared parenting time with your child’s other parent, then you will typically have time with your child on a weekly basis. This can range from every other weekend to two full weeks per month.

If you have sole custody of your child, the other parent typically has visitation rights. This may be every other weekend, once a week, or a few hours per week.

It is important to remember that parenting time is not the same as custody. Parenting time refers to the amount of time that a parent gets to spend with their child, whereas custody refers to the decision-making authority about their welfare.

What is an Arizona Parenting Plan?

An Arizona parenting plan is a document that outlines the custody and visitation arrangements for both parents. Arizona law requires that all parents who are divorcing or dissolving their civil union submit a parenting plan. This document will lay out the specifics of each parent’s custody and visitation rights. It typically includes information about how decisions are made, who will have the child during holidays and vacations, and how transportation will be handled.

Custody of Child document

It is important to have a parenting plan if you expect a divorce. This ensures that you and your spouse have the same expectations about parenting time before it begins, which makes negotiations much easier down the road.

If you are already divorced and have children, it is still important to have a parenting plan in place. This will help to ensure that all parties are aware of the custody and visitation arrangements and will help to prevent any confusion or misunderstandings.

If you are facing a divorce and have concerns about custody and visitation, it is important to understand your rights under Arizona law. The experienced family lawyers at The Valley Law Group can help you to understand your options and capitalize on all of your rights.

Why Are Parenting Plans Necessary?

Parenting plans are necessary because they protect the best interests of the child. When parents go through a divorce, it can be difficult for the children to adjust. A parenting plan helps to ensure that the children know what is happening and have a schedule to follow. This can help to minimize the stress that the children experience during this time. Other benefits of a parenting plan include:

  • Helps to prevent confusion and conflict between the parents
  • Ensures that the children have a stable home life during and after the divorce
  • Provides a structure for the children to follow
  • Can help to reduce the stress that the children experience during and after the divorce.
  • Provides legal backing in the event of a custody dispute
  • Provides guidelines for how decisions are made about the children’s welfare

These are just a few of the many reasons why parenting plans are necessary for a divorce. If you are considering a divorce and have questions about custody and visitation, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a consultation.

Child Custody Guide


When working towards a parenting plan, it is important to consider the child’s best interests. This means that each parent should have as much time with their children as possible. However, there are a number of factors that can influence the final decision, including:

  • The age and developmental stage of the child
  • The distance between the parents’ homes
  • The work schedules and flexibility of the parents
  • The parenting skills of the parents
  • Any history of domestic violence or child abuse
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • Any substance abuse conducted by either parent

These are just a few of the factors that can influence a parenting plan. While some of these factors can be difficult to handle, it is important that the parents speak with an attorney before going through with the divorce. 

Tips to Benefit Children During a Divorce

There are a number of steps that can be taken to benefit children during the divorce process:

  • Ensure that each parent has frequent, scheduled visitation
  • Make sure that the children’s routine is not disrupted too much by the divorce
  • Communicate with each other about school and extracurricular activities for the children
  • Make sure to keep a flexible schedule that allows both parents’ significant involvement with their children
  • Prioritize communication with the child, even when they are not in your presence, by sending emails, texts, or cards
  • Avoid speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the children
  • Keep any disputes out of earshot of the children

Please note that these are just a few tips to benefit the children during the divorce process. By following these suggestions, you can help to ensure that the children are as comfortable and stress-free as possible during this difficult time.

Things to Avoid that Harm a Child During Divorce

There are also a number of things that parents should avoid doing during the divorce process that can harm the children. These include:

  • Refusing to communicate with the other parent
  • Dictating your child’s life decisions without listening to the child’s wishes or other’s opinions, such as where they go to school or what activities they participate in
  • Refusing to allow the other parent time with their children
  • Talking poorly about the other parent in front of your child, no matter how angry you may be
  • Putting the children in the middle of your disputes
  • Question a child about their other parent
  • Question a child about the activities that they participate in during visitation with the other parent or ask them to keep secrets from one of their parents

These are just a few of the things to avoid during divorce that can harm your children. Strictly following these and any other guidelines that make sense for your family can help avoid unnecessary heartache or harm for your children.

Do I Really Need a Divorce and Child Custody Attorney?

It’s a natural thought to have when considering a divorce: do I really need an attorney? Is it worth the investment? The answer to these questions is, without a doubt, yes. A family law attorney can help you navigate the divorce process and determine child support. This includes helping guide you through child custody rules in AZ, parenting time, spousal support, property division, and more. Hiring an attorney can help ensure that you have a better chance of receiving custody or visitation with your children.

Why Do I Need a Documented Parenting Plan for Joint Legal Custody?

Good legal representation can be the difference between being able to see your children as much as you’d like and someone else having the only voice in a final decision. Parents run a large risk of losing their rights to spend time with their children when they go through the divorce process without an attorney.

What Are the Characteristics of a Strong Family Law Attorney?

When looking for a family law attorney, it is important to find someone who has the following traits:

  • Knowledgeable: The attorney should be well-versed in family law, as well as the applicable Arizona and federal laws.
  • Experienced: The attorney should have a number of years of experience in family law cases, with evidence of a successful track record to validate your trust in their abilities.
  • Compassionate: The attorney should care about the well-being of their clients and have a genuine interest in helping them resolve their case.
  • Reputable: The attorney should have a good reputation in the community and among other attorneys and within their own law firm. It is important to find someone you can trust and feel comfortable working with.
  • Personable: The attorney should be able to assist you, put your mind at ease, and make the process more pleasant for you. Displaying a high level of emotional intelligence is key.
  • Active Listener: The attorney should be a good listener and take the time to understand you, your situation, and your goals for the case.
  • Representative of You: The attorney should be able to speak on your behalf in times when you are not in the room and display a high level of integrity when advocating for your rights.

If you can find an attorney who has these qualities, they will likely be a strong advocate for you and your family during the divorce process. These characteristics are not the only things to look for when choosing a family law attorney, but they can help you identify someone who is likely to have success in helping you reach a favorable outcome in your case.

Contact The Valley Law Group for Parental Time Calculations and Custody Arrangements in Arizona

At The Valley Law Group, we have years of experience in family law and can help you obtain a favorable outcome for your case. We understand the importance of having a strong advocate for you and your children. It’s what drives us to do what we do. We want to protect your rights and be a strong voice for you during this difficult time. A divorce is already difficult enough, so we strive to eliminate as much stress as possible from the process so you and your family can advance into the next chapter of your lives.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Learn More About Child Custody

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Carmen Segura
Carmen Segura
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Wonderful experience knowledge and responsive. Elda and Jonathan were helpful and responsive to all my questions and concerns . I was going to so much stress Elda was great responding to my emails it never took more than 24 hours to get a respond from her. I highly recommend Elda and Jonathan to all my friends and family.
Catherine Dolan
Catherine Dolan
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Thank you Jon for helping me with my case and making me feel comfortable during the proceedings. I appreciate the guidance you provided and legal recommendations so that I could result in the best possible outcome for my situation. I would have been very lost without your help!
Hannah Ridinger
Hannah Ridinger
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I could not be happier with The Valley Law Group. My case was handled effectively and efficiently. I am very grateful for Cory Keith and the rest of the group. Thank you!
Dan Palmer
Dan Palmer
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Simply put, Ryan is outstanding! ! I’ve used his services exclusively for the last 6+ years on multiple custody and visitation cases. After having gone through three less than transparent attorneys before Ryan, it was incredibly refreshing when I found him. He’s courteous, responsive and the utmost professional. Best of all, I feel that I can trust his advice explicitly. A true rarity in this industry! Bottom line: I wouldn’t consider even having a conversation with another attorney!
John Law
John Law
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Ryan did a good job especially considering I didn't have an attorney most of my divorce. I would recommend him, but get him onboard at the beginning not the end.
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The experience and information that was given to me was of great value. Very professional and with a personal touch. I greatly appreciate all their help. Thank you
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