While this blog has touched on them at in the past, it may be helpful for our Phoenix readers and those in suburban Maricopa County to understand exactly what factors Arizona courts will use to decide a child custody case.
The goal of any court is, or at least ought to be, to serve the best interests of the children involved in the custody case. When trying to determine the best interests of the child, though, it relies on a list of factors described in Arizona's laws.
Some of these factors are rather commonplace in that they similar to the laws of other states. For example, a court in Arizona, like those in other states, will take in to account the child's own health, the relationship between the children and each parent as well as the child's brothers and sisters and other family members. The court will also take in to account how the children interact with their broader community.
The court is also allowed to take in to account the poor behavior of either parent. For instance, a court can factor in any serious allegation of child abuse or domestic violence. On the other hand, the court can also take in to account for the fact that a parent falsely reported child abuse.
On the whole, though, a court looks at the whole situation of a child and his or her circumstances. It can be hard, in fact, to know exactly what information a judge will rely on when making a decision. This is one of the reasons why it is a good idea for those in a custody dispute to get the advice and guidance of an experienced family law attorney.