The Child’s Best Interest
When it comes to joint decision-making authority, ARS 25.403 states that “consistent with the chid’s best interest in section 25-403 and sections 25-403.03, 25-403.04 and 25-403.05, the court shall adopt a parenting plan that provides for both parents to share legal decision-making regarding their child.”
However many changes have been made to parenting laws in Arizona, the best interest of the child is still the priority of judges in divorce court, and the new law still requires judges to make decisions based on this matter. Some of the modifications to child custody laws are as follows:
Removed: “The wishes of the child’s parents as to custody.”
Modified: “The wishes of the child.” This change seeks to specify that the child must be of suitable age and maturity if the court is to consider the child’s wishes as to custody and parenting time.
Removed: “Whether one parent, both parents, or neither parent has provided primary care of the child.” However, the primary care of the child will be a consideration under the new factor: “The past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and child.”
Added: “Whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay, to increase the cost of litigation or to persuade the court to give a legal decision-making or a parenting time preference to that parent.”
Under the former laws, it is stated that the joint legal decision-making would not be in the child’s best interest if one parent had committed acts of domestic violence or abused drugs or alcohol. Under the new laws, the standard for substance abuse changed and expanded.
The new statute applies if a parent has “abused drugs or alcohol or has been convicted of any drugs offense within 12 months before the petition is filed” for child custody hearings.
For more information about child custody and how these new laws impact you and your child custody parental agreements, contact a Glendale child custody attorney at The Sampair Group.