Like other states, Arizona has laws protecting victims of domestic violence as well as those victim’s children. Basically, although the default in Arizona is that parents should share legal custody of the child and should each get liberal parenting time, this default will not apply when a judge finds domestic violence has occurred or has been occurring regularly over the course of the couple’s relationship. Therefore, it is important for fathers or mothers to recognize that, under the law, a court does not have to wait for a criminal conviction or have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a parent committed an act of domestic violence.
Once a judge finds domestic violence has occurred, the parent accused of perpetrating the violence will be presumed not to have shared decision-making authority or liberal parenting time. In fact, he or she will have to show why visits should not be supervised or otherwise restricted in some way. Otherwise, he or she may be paying for supervised visits or, at a minimum, attending counseling and being prohibited from having the children overnight.
If it is the case that a parent did make a mistake, then the law allows that parent to do certain things to address the situation. For example, he or she may be able to attend counseling or, if it was a factor in the incident, drug treatment in order to demonstrate that he or she is capable of joint custody and unrestricted parenting time.
It is a sad reality that some people will make up, or grossly exaggerate, claims related to domestic violence in order to keep the other parent from the children. In these sorts of situations, fathers/mothers should take all the steps necessary to protect their rights with regards to their child.