In most cases, children benefit from a healthy relationship with both parents. This is why many states recognize the importance of allowing mothers and fathers to spend significant time with their kids.
Here is what Arizona parents need to know about the right to parenting time.
How is parenting time different from legal custody?
Courts consider legal custody and parenting time separately. With legal custody, one or both parents have decision-making authority over the children. Parenting time refers to how parents share physical custody. This includes typical days, as well as holidays, birthdays and vacations.
Do parents have a right to parenting time?
Arizona recognizes a parent’s right to “reasonable parenting time” with a child. However, in certain situations, a court can restrict parenting time to protect the child’s physical, mental or emotional well-being.
How do courts determine parenting time?
The right amount of parenting time will vary based on the unique needs of individual families. The state provides resources to help families decide on the best parenting plan for their circumstances. When parents cannot agree on an arrangement on their own or through mediation, a judge will make a decision based on multiple factors, including:
- The child’s age
- The parents’ work schedule and free time
- Living conditions in each parent’s home
- Distance between the homes
- The child’s school schedule
Above all else, judges will put the child’s best interest first. If a parent believes the parenting time plan is detrimental to the child, he or she can request a modification with the courts.