Arizona Child Custody Guidelines and Links

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Factors Considered When Determining the Best Interest of the Child for Child Custody in Arizona

A. The court shall determine custody, either originally or on petition for modification, in accordance with the best interests of the child.

The court shall consider all relevant factors, including:

  1. The wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to custody.
  2. The wishes of the child as to the custodian.
  3. 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.
  4. The child’s adjustment to home, school and community.
  5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  6. Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and meaningful continuing contact with the other parent.
  7. Whether one parent, both parents or neither parent has provided primary care of the child.
  8. The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding custody.
  9. Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title.
  10. Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02.
  11. In a contested custody case, the court shall make specific findings on the record about all relevant factors and the reasons for which the decision is in the best interests of the child.

Additionally, Arizona child custody courts must use Arizona Code 25-403.01, when deciding Sole and joint custody

A. In awarding child custody, the court may order sole custody or joint custody. This section does not create a presumption in favor of one custody arrangement over another. The court in determining custody shall not prefer a parent as custodian because of that parent’s sex.

B. The court may issue an order for joint custody over the objection of one of the parents if the court makes specific written findings of why the order is in the child’s best interests. In determining whether joint custody 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 custody.
  2. Whether a parent’s lack of agreement is unreasonable or is influenced by an issue not related to the best interests of the child.
  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 custody.
  4. Whether the joint custody arrangement is logistically possible.

C. The court may issue an order for joint custody of a child if both parents agree and submit a written parenting plan and the court finds such an order is in the best interests of the child. The court may order joint legal custody without ordering joint physical custody.

Relevant Sections of the Arizona Code Regarding Child Custody

25-401 Jurisdiction; commencement of proceedings
25-402 Definitions
25-403 Custody; best interests of child
25-403.01 Sole and joint custody
25-403.02 Parenting plans
25-403.03 Domestic violence and child abuse
25-403.04 Drug offenses
25-403.05 Sexual offenders; murderers; custody and parenting time
25-403.06 Parental access to records
25-403.07 Identification of a primary caretaker and public assistance
25-403.08 Resources and fees
25-403.09 Child support
25-404 Temporary orders
25-405 Interviews by court; professional assistance
25-406 Investigations and reports
25-407 Custody hearings; priority; costs; record
25-408 Rights of noncustodial parent; parenting time; relocation of child; exception; enforcement; access to records
25-409 Visitation rights of grandparents and great‑grandparents
25-410 Judicial supervision
25-411 Modification of custody decree; affidavit; contents
25-412 Expedited child support and parenting time fund
25-413 Domestic relations education and mediation fund; report
25-414 Violation of visitation or parenting time rights; penalties
25-415 Custody by nonparent; presumption; grounds; definitions

Links and Information on Child Custody in Arizona

Custody and Parenting Time FAQ (Arizona Supreme Court)
Things You Should Know About: Custody and Parenting Time [PDF](Arizona Supreme Court)
Model Parenting Time Plans (Arizona Supreme Court)
Requirements of Arizona Revised Statute 25-351 (Arizona Supreme Court)
Parent Education Class (Arizona Supreme Court)

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