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Phoenix Divorce Law Blog

Child Custody: how can you co-parent with a narcissist?

Joint custody is by law the preferred custody arrangement when parents in Arizona divorce. These custody orders are designed with the best interests of the child in mind. While it is up to the parents to keep to the terms of the agreement, it is often best to take steps to make the matter amicable and more successful for everyone.

Even though parents develop a co-parenting agreement with the idea that they will collaborate and openly communicate for their child or children, this is not always an easy process. It can take some time to acclimate to, especially since if parents had parenting issues during their marriage, it is likely that these issues will persist post-divorce as well. This could lead to often difficult custody disputes, especially when a parent's personality disorder interferes with the co-parenting process.

The important roles child support plays

The well-being of a child is best served when both parents contribute to this effort. This is easily accomplished when parents are together, but the divorce process can sometimes complicate this matter. For some Arizona parents, they have child support obligations following a divorce. While this means that they will now owe monthly payments for an extended period of time, it also means that the financial needs and best interests of the child are met.

Child support plays an important role in families across the U.S. In fact, these payments not only play a major role in the lives of the children that they are for, but they can also have an impact on local social service agencies and community groups that provide financial assistance. But the bottom line is when it comes to child support payments, this monetary support impacts a child socially as well as economically.

What are grandparents' rights like in Arizona?

It is not uncommon for grandparents in Arizona to take on a significant role in their grandchild's life. Even though grandparents are often afforded much time with their grandchildren, this is not always the case when major life events occur. Divorce has the tendency to contemplate the relationships everyone has with extended family members, thereby causing some grandparents to invoke their rights.

What are grandparents' rights like in Arizona? While the state of Arizona is known for having its fair share of grandparents due to the abundance of retirement communities, it is not the fairest state when it comes to grandparents' rights. For example, Arizona is one of the states in the nation that exempts grandparent visitation suits from being filed when a family is intact. In other words, if the parents of the child are still together, a grandparent cannot exert these rights.

Understanding visitation rights of grandparents

Divorce is a life event that complicates the lives of many Arizona residents. While the dissolution process tends to impact the spouses involved, it has the tendency to greatly affect the lives of the children involved as well. Some messy or complex divorces have the propensity to impact more than just the spouses an their children. In some cases, the parents of the divorced spouses could be affected as well. This could lead to disputes surrounding the relationship between a grandparent and their grandchildren.

To some degree, every state in the nation has some form of law governing grandparents' rights and the visitation rights of grandparents. These laws grant grandparents the legal right to visit their grandchild. The intent of these laws is to maintain contact and the relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild.

Is the family law system really stacked against fathers?

Many fathers in Phoenix, Arizona, who find themselves in the middle of a custody dispute with their children's mother may believe the common perception that, should they wind up in front of a judge, they will not get a favorable result in a custody case.

However, relatively recent statistics paint a slightly different picture; specifically, dads in Arizona and elsewhere are often willing to give custody to the child's mother voluntarily, almost always without a court's involvement and, in most cases, without going through any legal proceeding whatsoever.

Helping you through the property division process

Divorce is never easy. That is true even in cases where spouses collaborate and work together through all the steps of the process. In many cases, divorcing spouses will extend the process, focus on minute details, refuse to budge on issues and even act spiteful. This is likely to result in wasted time, money and emotional sanity.

One divorce issue that spouses are likely to focus on is property division; however, with the proper mindset and taking appropriate steps, divorcing couples in Arizona can get through this often challenging process.

Adjustments to child support can help your children thrive

The State of Arizona has established a set of guidelines that dictate how much child support a parent may be obligated to pay. The guidelines consider the incomes of the parents as well as the number of children subject to the order. Child support amounts can be adjusted up or down from the prescribed amounts to serve the best interests of the children subject to the support orders.

Parents are usually the best advocates for their children's needs, and when a custodial parent believes their child requires more support than they are receiving, the custodial parent may seek an adjustment to the existing child support order. Adjustments may be made to provide a child with adequate housing and food, to accommodate changing school costs or fees, or to provide the child with necessary transportation to participate in activities that are important to their life.

When a claim of paternity turns out to be fraudulent

A number of U.S. jurisdictions presume that a man is a child's father if he was married to the child's mother when the child was born. If the parents are unmarried when the child is born, a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity will establish a legal relationship between a man and a child. However, in Arizona and throughout the rest of the country, mistakes and even malicious conduct can give a man paternal responsibilities over a child that is biologically not his offspring.

When a woman claims that a child is a man's offspring, she may assert the right to pursue child support from him. In some cases, however, it may not be clear who is the child's father, or the woman may fraudulently claim a man is the father when she knows he is not.

When can a parental kidnapping lead to criminal charges?

When parents choose to live apart, either due to divorce or other circumstances, they may agree to a child custody plan that governs when each parent will have time with their shared child. In Arizona a child custody plan may be created by the parents or may be set by the court through an order; in either case once a child custody plan is accepted by the court the failure of the parties to abide by its terms may be punishable under the law.

If parents struggle to meet the basic terms of the plan, such as drop off times or visitation limitations, they may be able to petition the court to have their child custody arrangement modified. If, however, a parent chooses to take custody matters into his or her own hands and absconds with a child in violation of an operating child custody order, that parent may be considered to have kidnapped his child.

What could happen if one stops paying child support?

Parents who are struggling to keep up with their child support obligations are encouraged to speak with family law attorneys. In some cases, an Arizona parent may request a modification to his child support obligation that may reduce the amount he is required to pay or may change the terms of the order or agreement to make repayment more feasible for the non-custodial parent. The failure of a parent to pay child support can result in significant legal penalties being taken against him.

For example, when a parent falls behind on his support payments, the child's custodial parent can seek enforcement of the agreement or order. Enforcement efforts can include garnishing the paying parent's wages and income or even placing a lien on any real property that he owns.