Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: My child's biological father lives in a different state. She is almost 3 years old now but we haven't seen him or heard from him since she was 4 months old. I did live in the same state as him but moved here for family since we had none after he left. How do I get sole custody of her? How much will it cost? Is there help I can get since we live on a budget?

Answer: Under Arizona law, "child custody" is called "legal decision-making and parenting time." A.R.S. 25-403. (http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/25/00403.htm&Title=25&DocType=ARS) The law states that a decision will be made either when an original petition is filed; meaning when there is currently no order for custody in place, or a petition for modification. A petition is a document initially filed with the court, when a person requests a court to do something, in this case to "issue an order." The law states that a decision will be made "in accordance with the best interests of the child" and lists factors that a court will consider when making a decision.   The Arizona Supreme Court's website (http://www.azcourts.gov/) has a Court Locator to find the court with jurisdiction in the various counties in Arizona.   There may also be forms in the self-help section of the Superior Court of the county where the petition is to be filed. Additionally, AZLawhelp has a useful article titled "Things You Should Know About Custody and Parenting Time.” (http://www.azlawhelp.org/articles_info.cfm?mc=1&sc=1&articleid=68)
The legal resources tab on AZ law website provides different organizations that can help you. You can access that page here:  (http://www.azlawhelp.org/legalaidlisting.cfm)

QUESTIONS

  • My child's biological father lives in a different state. She is almost 3 years old now but we haven't seen him or heard from him since she was 4 months old. I did live in the same state as him but moved here for family since we had none after he left. How do I get sole custody of her? How much will it cost? Is there help I can get since we live on a budget?

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
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    Referral number 520-623-4625
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