As a parent, you desire your children to be cared for and have the best upbringing. You want to visit your child regularly. The law ensures this, but unfortunately, there are times when the process doesn’t work as it should. When someone else’s interests conflict with or overshadow yours, the legal system can become complicated, and emotions run high.
In these times, it is wise to call in an experienced attorney who knows the court system, has had extensive experience with custody issues, and will fight for each party’s rights. Child custody cases handled by Jensen Family Law will have enough planning and preparation hence a successful settlement. Read to understand the legal process of child custody cases in Arizona and how an attorney can help.
File the Case
The parent must file paperwork with the court clerk’s office, along with a filing fee. The parent then files an action with the court clerk’s office so that it gets served on the other parent.
Different custody arrangements may apply to your situation, including:
- In joint legal custody, both parents share authority over the child’s education, medical care, and religious upbringing; and
- In sole legal custody, one parent makes all decisions regarding the child’s education, medical care, and religious upbringing.
Serve Other Party
Next, you must serve the other party with notice of your petition by mailing them a copy of the paperwork or through a process server or sheriff. The email will cost you $10-$15, while the process server or sheriff will cost $75-$100. Once that’s done, they have 30 days to respond in writing with their arguments against your petition.
If they don’t respond within 30 days, they automatically lose their right to contest your petition and will be in default. However, if they respond within 30 days and agree with what you’ve asked for in your petition, they can sign an “Affidavit of Consent,” which means they agree not to contest your request and don’t need any further hearings on the matter. If they disagree with your requests, you must go through mediation.
The court will order mediation if both parties consent and no criminal charges are pending against one or both parents. A private mediator conducts the mediation; he doesn’t represent either party but works as an impartial third party who helps settle disputes between parents.
The mediator meets with parents separately and helps them agree on child custody issues, such as where children should live or whether another adult should supervise visitation. The mediator does not make decisions for parents; instead, they help guide them toward making informed choices about custody issues based on what’s best for their children’s well-being.
Submit Consent Decree and Wait for Response
If parents agree on all issues, one of you can submit a consent decree, which is a document that lists all of the terms agreed upon by both parents. The consent decree must be signed by both parents and filed with the court.
If one or both parties do not agree with everything in the consent decree, it’s not easy to work out an agreement between the two. If there are minor disagreements about custody, visitation, or child support, some judges may be willing to decide based on what is best for the child. You need to do it within 60 days after service. The other party has 20 days to respond once served within the state and 25 days if served by mail.
File for Default Judgement
Suppose the other party doesn’t file a response within ten days of being served with paperwork regarding custody and visitation arrangements. In that case, you will get custody of your child.
Go to Court
If you are not awarded custody by default judgment, you will have to appear at a hearing, where both parties can present their cases. The judge will then decide whether one of you should get custody or if both of you should share it.
At this point, both parties may want legal representation to help them get what they want out of the case. An experienced family law attorney can help ensure they represent your interests in court and that you receive what is best for your child’s future.
Many considerations come into play when you pursue or defend your child custody rights in Arizona. These factors may not be easy for you to understand on your own; you need an experienced attorney for child custody matters in Arizona by your side. Even if there is no merit to the claims against you, these situations can be stressful. While an experienced attorney may cost more, it is worth ensuring you protect your rights from another party’s irresponsible or malicious actions.
The Role of an Attorney in Child Custody Cases
Having the right attorney by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. A skilled and experienced attorney can help guide you through the legal process and ensure that your rights and interests are protected. Here are some of the key roles an attorney can play in a child custody case:
Providing Legal Advice: An attorney can help you understand the legal process and your rights and responsibilities in a child custody case. They can provide you with information about the laws that apply to your case and help you navigate the complex legal system.
Representing You in Court: An attorney can represent you in court, making arguments on your behalf and advocating for your rights. They can also cross-examine witnesses and submit evidence to support your case.
Negotiating with the Other Side: In many child custody cases, an agreement can be reached between the parties without going to court. An attorney can help you negotiate a settlement agreement that is in your best interests and protects your rights.
Protecting Your Interests: An attorney can help you protect your interests and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process. They can help you build a strong case and ensure that your voice is heard in court.
Having the right attorney by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your child custody case. It is important to choose an attorney who is experienced in child custody law and who understands the unique challenges of these cases. They can provide you with the legal support and guidance you need to navigate the legal process and achieve the best possible outcome for you and your child.