Arizona parents considering divorce or already dealing with custody disputes have probably heard about shared parenting. In recent years, most jurisdictions in the U.S. have moved toward the notion that joint custody is the preferred parenting arrangement for children whose parents live separately. Studies have shown that children are more likely to prosper when both parents are active and involved in their lives.
While judges are tasked with the job of determining custodial arrangements, parents can be proactive in looking out for their kids. Approaching divorce or custody disagreements via collaborative processes involves the use of lawyers and mediators who focus on finding solutions rather than winning legal fights. Judges are required to consider the best interests of children when making decisions. If parents set aside their differences and follow the same approach, they can often arrive at workable solutions a judge may miss. Shared physical and financial responsibility for children is optimal, but improper management or enforcement of obligations can cause a myriad of problems for everyone involved.
Courts must consider all relevant factors in determining custodial arrangements. Residential circumstances and patterns of behavior are very much involved in these decisions. If parents live far apart, any disruption of academic schedules will be relevant. Furthermore, courts often consider the preferences of older children and prefer not to separate brothers or sisters.
Child custody decisions are often the most stressful element of the divorce process. Understanding the applicable laws and procedures helps parents prepare themselves for litigation and make strategic decisions about the process. Consulting a qualified family law attorney can provide parents with insight that allows them to make the best decisions for everyone involved in the dispute.