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Phoenix Divorce Law Blog

Child custody: tips for co-parenting during summer vacation

Now that school is out and summer vacation has begun, parents in Arizona are making plans to enjoy the summer months with their kids. While this is common for parents across the nation, planning to go on a trip is not always an easy task. For divorced parents, making plans for the summer also means communicating with their ex. For some parents, this can be a challenging task, making it difficult to plan the trip they want when they want it.

Because children anticipate the summer to be filled with fun and relaxing activities, parents often feel the pressure to meet these demands. And in a post-divorce setting, parents are often finding it troublesome to meet the wishes and demands of their children. Although not all parents enter a co-parenting relationship following divorce, this is often a very helpful relationship to be in for joint custody arrangements. This tends to open up the lines of communication, helping the parents negotiate a plan they both feel comfortable with.

Deciding who gets what when dividing marital property

Disputes often come up at various points in the divorce process. From the very beginning at the decision to file for dissolution to the very end right before a divorce decree is signed, serious and lengthy disputes may occur throughout the divorce. One very contentious issue many divorcing Arizona spouses face is property division. In most cases, these disputes revolve around who gets what when it comes time to divide marital property.

How marital property is divided is dependent on the state the divorce occurs in. In the state of Arizona, which is a community property state, all assets acquired during the marriage are considered to be community property. In other words, community property is deemed marital property and both spouses own it equally.

Determining who get the home during divorce

Deciding to get a divorce means many different things for couples in Arizona. Divorcing couples will face a multitude of changes moving forward. In order to help transition from married life to single life, spouses seek to leave their marriage with what they believe is rightfully theirs. While some divorcing spouses can sort through their assets and property with little to no issues, others find themselves in frequent disputes during the property division process.

In community property states, like Arizona, the marital property owned by the couple is equally divided. Separate property owned by each spouse remains his or hers in the divorce process. Because items must be divided equally, this could result in some disputes over marital property, especially if each spouse seeks to own it.

How helpful are paternity tests during custody disputes?

When child custody disputes arise, parents in Arizona may have to take additional steps to sort them out. If a mother contends that a man is the father of a child or a man is seeking to gain fathers' rights by asserting that he is the father of a child, DNA testing will be necessary if the parties disagree as to the man's fatherhood of the child.

How helpful are paternity tests during custody disputes? A paternity test is considered to be a highly accurate test that uses a blood or tissue sample of the father or alleged father and the mother and child. The accuracy of these tests ranges between 90 to 99 percent, and a paternity test has the ability to exclude a man that is not the biological father while also showing the likelihood of paternity if the man in question is not excluded.

The significance of establishing paternity

When a baby is born in Arizona and any other state in the nation, there is a common misconception that when a man is listed as the father on a birth certificate, this automatically affords him fathers' rights. While being listed as a father could help support a claim for paternity, this alone does not establish paternity. There are several means to establish paternity; however, the goal of this process is to prove whether or not a man is the father of a child.

In a wide variety of cases, paternity can be voluntarily assumed. This occurs when a child's parents are married, when the child's parents are not married at the time of the child's birth but later do get wed and execute a legitimation form, or a child's parents are not married, but do execute a voluntary paternity agreement.

Helping you reach a workable child custody agreement

Divorce is a complex process. Even when couples in Arizona are prepared to initiate dissolution, they are often ill-prepared to deal with the many ups and downs the end of a marriage can bring. This is especially true for those divorcing with children. Many of the choices and decision made throughout the process will impact the child, making it imperative that much attention is paid to the agreements being made. This is especially true when reaching a legal decision-making and parenting time agreement. 

Depending on the dynamics of the family and how messy the divorce is, some divorcing parents are able to collaborate through a joint legal decision-making and parenting time agreement. While this arrangement can be more positive for children, since it allows both parents to have equal access to the children, some Arizona parents are not able to agree on all of the necessary terms. At John Bednarz, PC, our legal team understands the challenges that child legal decision-making and parenting time issues can bring to the table. Thus, we are dedicated to assisting Arizona parents through every step of the process.

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.