For Arizona parents, being a custodial parent has advantages and disadvantages. The custodial parent is generally the parent the child lives with most of the time.
Even if the agreed-upon visitation schedule gives the child a substantial amount of time with the noncustodial parent, this means the bulk of the day-to-day parenting falls to the custodial parent. This includes homework, emotional support, extracurricular activities and more. While this is largely positive, it does also mean that when the child acts out frustration, anger and other negative emotions, those tend to be directed at the custodial parent. It is normal for children to do this even though it can be stressful for the parent.
The custodial parent is usually paid child support by the noncustodial parent. However, this is not automatic. Working out a child support agreement is part of the divorce process. If the parents were never married or never lived together, the custodial parent may have to file for support. A single parent who is raising a child with little or no involvement from the other parent should not assume the situation automatically confers custodial parenting rights. The parent may want to consult an attorney to find out whether it is necessary to file for custody.
Even in a contentious divorce, parents might be able to work out an agreement using mediation, and there might not be a single custodial parent. Parents may agree on joint physical custody, and while this may not mean the child spends exactly half time with each parent, it will divide time and responsibilities more evenly. If parents cannot reach an agreement, the case may have to go to litigation where a judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child.