Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: Filed for divorce in NM a year and a half ago, moved to AZ in January of this year, have custody of my 2 children. Father still lives in NM rarely calls or writes kids and hasn't visited once. Paperwork in NM was not fully filed for visitation or custodial but divorce was finalized. How do I gain full custody in AZ now that we live here and have established our lives.

Answer: After a decree of legal separation or divorce has been granted, the court still has authority to change (modify) an earlier custody order.

How can a court’s custody order be changed?

Either parent may request in writing that the court modify a custody order. To change an existing order it must be shown that the best interests of the child are served. The request is filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court and a fee for filing is charged; however, there are limitations on requesting a modification.

For example, a request may not be filed for one year from the date of the earlier order, unless there are special circumstances seriously endangering the child's physical, mental, emotional or moral health. If a form of joint custody has been ordered, a modification may be requested at any time if there is evidence that domestic violence, spousal abuse or child abuse has occurred since the date the last order was granted. In a joint custody situation, a parent must wait six months before seeking a modification if the reason for the request is that one parent has failed to obey the court's custody order.

You may want to contact an attorney to see how to go about obtaining full custody of your children.

QUESTIONS

  • Filed for divorce in NM a year and a half ago, moved to AZ in January of this year, have custody of my 2 children. Father still lives in NM rarely calls or writes kids and hasn't visited once. Paperwork in NM was not fully filed for visitation or custodial but divorce was finalized. How do I gain full custody in AZ now that we live here and have established our lives.

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