Divorce is never easy, and it can be even more complicated when there are children involved, so it is crucial that each parent fully understands their options. This post will cover the difference between custody, legal decision-making, and parenting time.

Legal Decision Making

The term “custody” does not really exist in Arizona anymore. Thus the concept of legal decision-making has been applied to many divorce cases involving children. Legal decision-making is defined as the right and responsibility of an individual, or rather a parent, to make legal decisions for a child. This responsibility includes anything from medical, educational, and religious decisions.

There are two types of legal decision-making: joint decision-making and sole decision-making. There is a particular circumstance in which sole decision-making is granted to a parent, often if there has been domestic violence, substance abuse, or abandonment issues in the past. However, most often, courts grant joint legal decision-making to divorced parents.

Parenting Time Schedule

After the court has ruled on joint legal decision-making rights for divorced parents, creating a parenting time schedule is the next step in the process. This determines where the child will live and, if applicable, for how long and when. The Arizona standard is for this time schedule to be substantial, frequent, meaningful, and have continuous contact. We are seeing this increasingly as parents have equal time with their children.

Additional Helpful Resources:

If you seek to learn more about legal decision-making or have undergone a recent divorce and have children, Stuart and Blackwell is fully equipped to provide you with the necessary resources!