Frequently Asked Questions

How Is Child Custody Determined?

Child custody is determined by a judge according to the factors set forth in the statute. The statute is Arizona Revised Statutes 25-403. The factors the judge considers are the wishes of the parents and the child (if old enough to express a preference); the interaction of the child with the parents and siblings; the child's adjustment to home, school, and community; the mental and physical health of the parents and the child; which parent is more likely to allow frequent and meaningful contact with the other parent; which parent or parents have provided primary care of the child; and the nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement for custody.

Joint legal custody means the parents jointly make major decisions about the children such as religion, education, health care, and residence. Sole custody means one parent makes these decisions.

With either joint legal or sole legal custody, there must be an arrangement for the time-sharing of the child or children. Pima County has Access Guidelines to help the judge and parents determine the access of each of the parents to the child or the children.

A parent is entitled to visitation with a child unless there is a finding by the judge that such visitation will endanger seriously the child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health.

by: Sandra Tedlock

For more information or to make an initial appointment, call our office: (520) 885-9301.