Parenting time is one of the important issues about which decisions should be made during a couple’s divorce when they have one or more children. When Arizona parents are unable to agree on a plan for raising their children in a way that is in the children’s best interests, the court will make a determine regarding parenting time. Parenting time is how much time a child spends with each parent. If you are concerned about parenting time, it’s important to call dedicated Phoenix child custody lawyer Angela Duhon.Parenting Time
After a separation or divorce, the child must continue to receive appropriate care. The parenting schedule cannot be determined by the parents before the child is born; a prenuptial agreement that attempts to make determinations about this issue will not be adhered to on this score. Parenting time in other states is often called visitation or access. It refers to a child’s opportunity to spent time with a parent who doesn’t have sole legal custody. This can include deciding how much time a child should spent with a parent and which parent will provide primary care for the child. There are situations in which others outside the nuclear family, such as grandparents or relatives, may ask for parenting time.
The court must make specific findings about a child’s best interests when deciding parenting time. These findings are not based on a parent’s sex. In some cases, parents disagree dramatically about parenting time. Once the court is involved, it is supposed to consider certain factors when determining a child’s best interest and making a parenting time schedule. Sometimes this issue arises during a divorce, but it can also come up when parents are asking the court to modify a custody determination made in an earlier divorce case.Modification of Parenting Time
Either parent can ask the court to modify its custody order, including parenting time. Generally, you can’t ask for modification for one year from the date of your earlier order, except when specific circumstances seriously endanger a child’s mental, emotional, or physical health. Either can ask for modification if there is evidence that domestic violence or abuse, whether of a child or spouse, has happened since the date of the controlling court order. When the reason for asking for a modification is that a parent didn’t obey the court’s custody order, the parent needs to wait six months before asking for a modification.
There are situations in which parents are referred to mediation so that they can reach a custody and parenting time agreement between themselves. If the parents can get to an agreement, the court makes the decision. In some situations, the court asks an agency to investigate or seeks expert opinions. Regardless of the circumstances, it is the child’s best interests that will determine the outcome. Courts typically accept a negotiated agreement about parenting time that was made in the course of getting a divorce or separation, but the court may not accept the agreement if it finds it is not in the child’s best interests. For that reason, it is wise for parents to seek a Phoenix family law attorney who can make sure any agreements they reach are likely to be viewed by the court as being within a child’s best interests.Violation of Parenting Time
The other parent should not interfere with parenting time. When the court finds that a parent has refused without good cause to comply with a parenting time order, the court will make an order that:
- Finds the parent who violated the order in contempt
- Order parenting time to compensated for missed visits
- Order counseling and parent education
- Order alternative dispute resolution at a violating parent’s expense.
- Civil penalties may also be ordered.
Parenting time can have significant consequences for a parent-child relationship over the years. As a parent, it is normal to have strong opinions about how much time you spend with your child. If you are concerned about Phoenix parenting time, you should hire an experienced family law attorney. Call Ms. Duhon at (602) 699-4949 or via our online form.