The “best interests of a child” are the focus of the court when it resolves custody disputes.
Among the various factors that are considered as the court determines what is in a child’s (or children’s) best interests include:
- The relationship that the child has with each parent, as well as any other siblings (if applicable).
- The wishes of each parent, as well as the child.
- The mental and physical health of each parent, as well as the child.
- The child’s ability to adapt to a new community/home/school.
- Each parent’s willingness to promote a positive, healthy relationship between the child and the other parent.
- Each parent’s history of criminal behavior, addiction, domestic violence and/or other abuse (when applicable).
- Each parent’s history of making false allegations of abuse and/or domestic violence (when applicable).
When Are “Best Interests” Considered in Arizona Custody Disputes?
The court will focus on evaluating what is in children’s best interests when considering:
- How to split up parenting time and, namely, whether to award joint custody, sole custody, or some other custody arrangement.
- Requests for modifications of custody, which may be made when one parent moves, remarries, develops a new health complication, etc.
When parents can come to an agreement on their own about how custody should be split between them, the court will generally uphold these agreements – meaning that the court will not get as involved in dicing out best interest issues.
A Word About Child Support & Enforcement Issues
While best interests and child custody cases are often two sides of the same coin, another issue that is often inherent to custody cases is usually child support, which does not involve best interests considerations.
That is because, in Arizona, the courts see both parents as being responsible for financially supporting their children. Instead, the courts will consider factors like each parent’s income, the amount of time each parent looks after the children, whether either parent is already paying child support, etc.
Contact a Scottsdale Family Lawyer at the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau
Do you need effective representation in an Arizona custody case? If so, it’s time to contact Scottsdale Family Lawyer Karen Schoenau. Since 1987, Karen Schoenau has been committed to helping people resolve their important family law matters, including complex cases related to divorce, custody, paternity and other issues.
To receive professional advice and learn more about how we can help you, schedule an initial consultation with Attorney Karen Schoenau. You can set up this meeting by calling 480-467-3435 or by emailing us using the drop-down contact form at the top of this page.
From her offices based in Scottsdale, Attorney Karen Schoenau represents clients throughout the metropolitan Scottsdale area, including Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County, Gila County and throughout the state of Arizona.