Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: If the father of my child is on the Birth Certificate however is not living in AZ and comes to visit every 4 to 5 months for a few days, does he have rights to take her or can I as her mother say no because he is not involved with her other than the few times a year he shows up.

Answer: Unless there is a written custody order, the law presumes both parents to have equal custody and decision-making rights to their child.  If you are concerned that he will fail to return your child after a visit, you have the right to file a petition for full custody (now called legal decision-making and parenting time.)  You can find the forms you need and instructions on the Arizona Superior Court's website.  Go to https://www.azcourts.gov/selfservicecenter/.   You may also want to talk with a lawyer and get advice about your best course of action.  There are 3 programs in Arizona that you can use to get some inexpensive legal advice and guidance.  One is the Modest Means Program.  If you are financially qualified for the program, for a $75 fee, Modest Means offers a one hour consult with an attorney.  If you need additional help and the attorney agrees to take your case, the fee charged will not exceed $75 per hour.  The telephone number is (866)637-5341.  Both the Maricopa and Pima County Bar Associations have lawyer referral programs that offer a 30 minute consult with an experienced attorney.  Maricopa County's Lawyer Referral Service offers a 30 minute consult for a fee of $40.  The telephone number is (602) 257-4434.  Pima County's Lawyer Referral Service offers a 30 minute consultation for a fee of $35.  The telephone number is (520) 623-4625.

QUESTIONS

  • If the father of my child is on the Birth Certificate however is not living in AZ and comes to visit every 4 to 5 months for a few days, does he have rights to take her or can I as her mother say no because he is not involved with her other than the few times a year he shows up.

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