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Scottsdale Child Custody Attorney

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At the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau, our Phoenix and Scottsdale child custody attorney is dedicated to protecting the rights of parents and their children. We apply our in-depth knowledge of the law along with forceful advocacy to help you achieve the best possible results in any number of custody or visitation matters.

Why Choose Us

  • Our attorney, Karen Schoenau has over 20 years of experience in Arizona family law, specializing in complex child custody cases.
  • Our firm will perform an in-depth analysis on your case and tailor our legal representation to achieve the best possible outcome on your behalf.
  • Your child’s best interests are our firm’s top priority. We will work closely with you to develop a case strategy that speaks to the needs of your children during this sensitive process.

We Handle a Wide Range of Custody Issues in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ

Our Scottsdale divorce lawyer has the skill and experience to handle nearly any type of custody issue, including:

Determining Child Custody After an Arizona Divorce

When it comes to custody, Arizona law is gender neutral, that is, it favors neither fathers nor mothers. Courts will usually give parents either joint legal custody or sole legal custody of a child. They may also make decisions regarding visitation or parenting time with the child.

The courts take a number of factors into account when making a custody determination. These factors include looking at which parent has been the child’s primary caretaker and which parent is more likely to help build meaningful relationships between the child and the other parent. The courts will also consider any incidents involving domestic violence or patterns of alcoholism or drug abuse. Evidence of this type of behavior may create a presumption that the parent is not fit to have custody of the child.

Resolving Scottsdale Child Custody Issues During Mediation Versus Trial

During an Arizona divorce, there are two options for reaching an agreement in a child custody case. You and your spouse can come to an agreement through Scottsdale mediation, an alternative dispute resolution process where a trained third-party mediator guides you through the decision-making process. If you are able to reach an agreement during mediation, you and your spouse have the greatest amount of control over custody arrangements.

You and your spouse could also have a judge oversee your case, review all available pieces of evidence, and issue a final decree that outlines the terms of your divorce. For child custody issues, the court will take the following factors into consideration.

  • The relationship between each parent and the child
  • The physical and mental health of the parents and the child
  • Whether either parent has a history of domestic violence or child abuse
  • The child’s interests regarding his or her home, school, or community
  • Whether either parent has misrepresented the facts to the court in order to gain leverage during the case
  • Whether a parent is likely to encourage a relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent

Do Arizona Courts Consider a Child’s Preferences?

If a child is of suitable age and maturity, the court will also consider his or her preferences when issuing a custody decision. The child must be able to form an intelligent preference on his or her living arrangements, meaning that he or she can provide a reasonable opinion on which parent he or she wants to live with.

For example, if a child bases his or her decision on the quality of toys in the home, the court will not consider this choice to be an intelligent preference. However, if a child tells the court that he or she has a stronger relationship with one parent, the court will likely take this information into consideration.

Ultimately, Arizona courts will issue child custody decisions based on whether or not the arrangement is in the child’s best interest. The child may provide an opinion, but the court does not have to accept it if it does not believe it would be in his or her best interest.

Parenting Time for the Non-Custodial Parent

When deciding custody matters, Arizona courts will issue two different types of custody: legal custody and parenting time. Legal custody involves the parent’s right to make decisions about a child’s life, while parenting time involves physical custody, including visitation. If a court awards one parent more than 50 percent of the parenting time, that parent will be considered the custodial parent. The other parent will be the non-custodial parent.

Arizona courts will award non-custodial parents reasonable parenting time. It is common for a non-custodial parent to receive parenting time every other weekend, every other holiday, and half of vacation and school break time. However, these decisions will vary from case to case.

Interstate Custody Issues in Arizona Divorce Cases

Once an Arizona family court grants a custody order, that court usually has the continuing power, or jurisdiction, over changes to the order. If you are considering relocation out of Arizona, or if a spouse is contemplating a move, you need to speak with an attorney about potential legal implications. At the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau, our lawyer can answer any questions you may have, and can also handle any interstate custody disputes.

Call for a Consultation With a Scottsdale Child Custody Attorney

If you are involved in a legal matter concerning custody or visitation, we can help. Contact our Scottsdale child custody lawyer online or call (480) 209-1918 to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case. We will guide you through the legal process as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

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