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Question: My ex-husband and myself have joint legal custody of our 14yr old daughter. Our divorce was final in 2007, I am now remarried and my current husband has a new job out of state and my daughter has expressed wanting to live with us during the school year and her father during all holiday and summer breaks. I'm fine with this arrangment, her father is not. At what age in AZ is a childs wishes taken into consideration? Thank you

Answer: In Arizona children do not have a right to choose where they live until they reach the age of majority (18). Thus, until the child is 18 the custody decree will control where the child will reside. A custody decree is based on what the court believes to be in the best interest of the child. The court uses a range of factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Please refer to Title 25 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. Specifically, A.R.S. §25-403. Two of the factors that the court will consider are both the parent's and the child's thoughts on where they should live. A parent with joint custody of a child must give the other parent notice of his or her intent to relocate the child under A.R.S. § 25-408(B) .The notice must be in writing and must be submitted 60 days in advance of the relocation. The notice should be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested, to ensure delivery. The other parent will have an opportunity to submit a petition to the court opposing the relocation of the child. The court will decide whether relocation should be permitted. Unless there is an emergency situation warranting relocation, the court will consider the best interest of the child when making its decision. The factors the court will consider are listed under A.R.S. § 25-408(I)  and A.R.S. § 25-403 . The parent wishing to relocate the child has the burden of proving the relocation is within the child’s best interest. A parent also has the option of petitioning the court to modify a custody order and obtain full custody. However, the parent wishing to modify custody must prove that there is a substantial and continuing change of circumstances that warrant a modification. Since Family Law issues can be very fact specific and are often complicated, you may want to contact an attorney for specific legal advice. 

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QUESTIONS

  • My ex-husband and myself have joint legal custody of our 14yr old daughter. Our divorce was final in 2007, I am now remarried and my current husband has a new job out of state and my daughter has expressed wanting to live with us during the school year and her father during all holiday and summer breaks. I'm fine with this arrangment, her father is not. At what age in AZ is a childs wishes taken into consideration? Thank you

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