Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: My son's dad and I have joint legal and physical custody. The order has been in place since 2006 (my son was 5 years old at the time). He is now 14 and indicating that he wants to live with his dad. However, his dad doesn't have him the time allotted due to his work schedule. He's only able to take him to school two days per month. We live close to each other and to his school. The plan has worked well for the 10 1/2 years. I think he just doesn't like my rules. How will the courts look at this as far as allowing my son to decide.

Answer:

The court looks at the best interest of the child which comprises of a variety of factors one of which is the wishes of a child. These factors can be found in A.R.S. § 25-403 and are listed below:

1. The past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and the child.

2. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child's parent or parents, the child's siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest.

3. The child's adjustment to home, school and community.

4. If the child is of suitable age and maturity, the wishes of the child as to legal decision-making and parenting time.

5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.

6. Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the other parent. This paragraph does not apply if the court determines that a parent is acting in good faith to protect the child from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim of domestic violence or child abuse.

7. 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.

8. Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to section 25-403.03.

9. The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding legal decision-making or parenting time.

10. Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title.

11. Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02.

QUESTIONS

  • My son's dad and I have joint legal and physical custody. The order has been in place since 2006 (my son was 5 years old at the time). He is now 14 and indicating that he wants to live with his dad. However, his dad doesn't have him the time allotted due to his work schedule. He's only able to take him to school two days per month. We live close to each other and to his school. The plan has worked well for the 10 1/2 years. I think he just doesn't like my rules. How will the courts look at this as far as allowing my son to decide.

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