After a divorce or separation, parents in Arizona will need to create a parenting plan. One of the first steps in creating such a plan is determining who will be the custodial parent. In some cases, both parents have joint custody of their children. During a child custody hearing, a judge will determine who should have legal custody and who should have physical custody of a child.
If a parent has physical custody of a son or daughter, the child lives primarily with that parent. If a parent has legal custody, they get to make decisions about the child's upbringing. During the hearing itself, each parent will be given a chance to explain why they should be given custody of the child. This may also be a time during which parents can express concerns that they have about their former spouse or partner.
In addition to testimony from the parents, the child may also be allowed to provide input on the matter. Whether or not this happens will generally depend on the minor's age and their perceived level of maturity. Of course, a judge may make a custody decision based on factors beyond what a parent or child has to say.
In a divorce proceeding, parents will need to consider how they will raise their children. In some cases, property division at the end of a marriage can be influenced by a parenting plan. This is because custodial parents may keep the marital home or additional assets needed to provide for a child's needs. Parents going though a divorce may benefit by hiring an attorney who could review the case and help create a favorable settlement.