Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: How do you go about apply for child custody? What papers are needed? And what does the custody go upon?

Answer: The court decides child custody (now called legal decision-making) based on whatever is in the best interests of the child.  Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 25-403 sets out the factors the court considers.  Those include things like what type of relationship the child  has with each parent; the child's adjustment to home, school and community; relations with other siblings; which parent is more likely to allow frequent visitation with the other parent.  They also consider the child's age, any domestic violence issues, criminal convictions of a parent, among other things. You might want to meet with a lawyer to get some basic information.  There are three programs in Arizona that you can use to get inexpensive legal advice and guidance.  One is the modest means program.  You wil need to apply for the program and meet the financial qualifications.  Once you are qualified, Modest Means will send you a list of attorneys whose practice covers your area of concern.  You select a lawyer from the list and will be entitled to a one hour consultation for $75.  If you need additional help and if the lawyer agrees to take your case, the most you will be charged is  $75 per  hour.  The telephone number is (866) 637-5341.  Both Maricopa and Pima Counties have lawyer referral programs that offer a 30 minute consult with an attorney.  Maricopa County's Lawyer Referral Service offers its 30 minute consult with an experienced attorney for $40.  The telephone number is (602) 257-4434.  Pima County's Lawyer Referral Service offers a 30 minute attorney consult for $35.  The telephone number is (520) 623-4625.  If you intend to pursue legal decision-making on your own, you can find the forms and instructions you need on the court's website.  Go to:


  • How do you go about apply for child custody? What papers are needed? And what does the custody go upon?


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  • Please select your county of residence below.



  • State Bar of Arizona
  • Maricopa County Bar
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program