Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: What is the difference between legal custody and sole legal custody?

Answer:

A,R.S § 25-403.01. Sole and joint legal decision-making and parenting time

A. In awarding legal decision-making, the court may order sole legal decision-making or joint legal decision-making.

B. In determining the level of decision-making that is in the child's best interests, the court shall consider the factors prescribed in section 25-403, subsection A and all of the following:

1. The agreement or lack of an agreement by the parents regarding joint legal decision-making.

2. Whether a parent's lack of an agreement is unreasonable or is influenced by an issue not related to the child's best interests.

3. The past, present and future abilities of the parents to cooperate in decision-making about the child to the extent required by the order of joint legal decision-making.

4. Whether the joint legal decision-making arrangement is logistically possible.

C. An order for sole legal decision-making does not allow the parent designated as sole legal decision-maker to alter unilaterally a court-ordered parenting time plan.

D. A parent who is not granted sole or joint legal decision-making is entitled to reasonable parenting time to ensure that the minor child has substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the parent unless the court finds, after a hearing, that parenting time would endanger the child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health.

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