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Sun City West and Surprise Child Custody Lawyers Help Clients Reach Suitable Arrangements

Arizona firm advises on decision-making authority and parenting time

Pennington Law, PLLC in Sun City West and Surprise represents Arizona parents in a full range of custody and visitation matters. Whether you’re going through a divorce or never were married to your partner, we’ll advise you on how to obtain suitable terms relating to decision-making authority and parenting time. Our firm also assists with the modification and enforcement of existing custody orders.

Establishing initial custody arrangements

If you share one or more minor children with your spouse, you will need to maintain a relationship with that person after the divorce is finalized. In most cases, it is worth the effort to negotiate custody and child support terms that both parties can live with. Arizona favors arrangements where both parents have joint responsibility for important decisions involving their child and the parenting time schedule gives both parties frequent, meaningful, contact with their children. You can rely on us for strong counsel as we work to safeguard your parental rights.

Applying for a petition to modify a child custody order

Some proposed modifications to child custody terms are relatively simple. For example, a shift in a work schedule or a child’s schooling might warrant an adjustment to parenting time arrangements. Alternatively, someone who is abusing drugs or alcohol might vehemently protest their co-parent’s attempt to curtail their decision-making authority. During negotiations, our firm strives to find common ground so the parties can submit the proposed change to the judge jointly. However, if your ex does not agree with you on the potential modification, we will work diligently to make a convincing argument on your behalf.

Relocation disputes

A parent who has sole or joint custody of their child must notify their co-parent at least 45 days before they plan to move out of state with the child they share. This requirement also exists for relocations of at least 100 miles within Arizona. If the non-moving parent objects to the relocation, a judge reviews a wide range of factors to evaluate if the change is in the child’s best interests. These factors can include the reason for the proposed relocation, the effect it would have on the non-moving parent’s relationship with their child and the child’s preference if they possess sufficient age and maturity.

Visitation arrangements

Known as “parenting time” under Arizona law, visitation schedules should be prepared with great care. We make sure that clients consider issues such as holidays, school vacations, extracurricular activities and transportation between homes when developing a parenting time schedule. If a concern exists about a youth’s safety during visitation with a co-parent, supervision might be required.

Many grandparents have strong relationships with their grandchildren, but there is a presumption that parents should have control over who their children see. However, if a youth’s parents have been divorced for at least three months or were never married, courts will examine the circumstances to see if access should be given to the grandparents from the side of the parent who no longer lives with the child. Grandparent visitation is also allowed when one of the child’s parents is deceased.

Enforcement of existing custody orders

Parents are required by law to honor the terms of child custody orders. Of course, there can be unexpected events where visitation might need to be rescheduled or postponed. Usually, flexibility and patience will keep things running smoothly. If persistent noncompliance with a parenting time schedule becomes a problem, you can request that the court take action. This might lead to a warning that further violations will result in a contempt citation or modification to the custody order.

Contact a Maricopa County child custody attorney for a free initial consultation

Pennington Law, PLLC advises Arizona parents on child custody and visitation issues. Please call 623-229-0463 or contact us online for a free initial consultation. We have locations in Sun City West and Surprise.