There is no such preference. There are many factors that the court considers, but courts do not favor mothers over fathers.
The court looks at the following factors:
Once the divorce is filed and served, neither parent can take the children out of state without permission of the other parent or the court.
No, as long as they are safe, there is not much you can do. You have the right to know who the children are spending time with and whether they are spending the night somewhere other than their home with the other parent. Be reasonable in these requests, but keep your children safe. You might want to know the person’s birth date and Social Security number so you can run a background check on him/her. You have a right to know your children are safe.
It all depends; this is discussed in Chapter 5 regarding child support.
It is best if this can be negotiated. It is unknown what each judge would decide. Some believe that a parent can only schedule on their own time. This basically eliminates your children from most activities. This is probably one of the most hotly litigated issues after divorce. Think of it this way: it is not “your time;” it is your child’s childhood.
You could have an agreement called a “right of first refusal.” This is a common provision, which reads that if one parent who has the kids is gone for more than four hours, s/he will call the other parent and offer them the “right” to parent the kids before anyone else. If the other parent is busy, then parent number 1 can leave the kids with a responsible person of their choice. But it often might be a good idea to allow the grandmother and the kids to bond. Did you encourage this relationship when you were still married? If so, why not continue it?
The right of first refusal would apply. Also, you have every right to know exactly who is taking care of your children when your spouse is not home; this includes name, address, phone number and ID information, so you can do a background check if you desire. This is not to say that you use such requests as harassment; in fact you have a similar obligation to your spouse to let her know with whom you are leaving the kids, if anyone. You both have the continuing job to make sure your children are safe.
Not unless it is supervised. Drug use will preclude him from having unsupervised parenting time. You should ask the court to have him drug tested at TASC (Treatment Assessment Screening Center). Their website is: www.tascaz.org. You might want to consult with an attorney, as this issue can become complicated.
Significant domestic violence is contrary to joint legal decision-making. This is also beyond the scope of this book. Please consult with an experienced family law attorney. (See Chapter 13.)
Do you know why she does not like to visit him? If the child is safe and his house is safe, you should do everything you can to encourage the relationship. The child may be taking on your negativity or Father may just not be a very attentive parent. Help Father be a better parent by role modeling for him and discussing this with him. Maybe they could go to counseling together. Teenagers often do not want to be with either parent. It is important, however, to provide ample time with each parent.
Yes, you should very seriously consider it. Do your kids want to go? Remember, while this is “your” time, it is also their childhood. Try to negotiate and get make- up time or be gracious and let it go, knowing that your former spouse will return the favor when your parents come to town. Keep your kids first. Ask yourself, would I have allowed this if I were still married?
This can get sticky, because there are hundreds of international abductions every year. If you truly believe it is for a cruise, you might consider it. You can ask for the written itinerary and documentation showing that they are really going on the cruise. Sometimes the abduction of children comes as no surprise to the abandoned parent. You could agree to have the passports kept in a safety deposit box that requires two signatures to retrieve. If your former spouse has citizenship in another country, you might want to do research to find out about whether that country is a member of the Hague Convention and whether you could retrieve the children if they were kidnapped. You should seek legal advice if kidnapping is a real concern.
The court will generally not mandate where each parent takes the children to worship on their respective weekends. If you have a written agreement in your decree as part of your joint parenting agreement, the court may enforce it.
Is this a question you are seriously asking? If you contemplated not allowing your son to attend his band banquet, then take a step back and think about your son’s best interest, not yours. If you do not allow your child to go, you are forcing your son to spend time with you because it is “your” time. You should carefully consider whose needs you are thinking about. We have heard on more than one occasion that it is “not in the child’s best interest” to be involved in school activities during one parent’s time, but that is simply not the case. It is important that, as a parent, you stay involved in your children’s lives.
The parenting time arrangement is one factor considered in the worksheet (see Chapter 5.) The more time you have your child, the more expensive it is.
It is basically a free-for-all, unless the two of you can decide. Just remember that what you do now can be reported to the court later. If you unreasonably keep the children away from one parent out of vindictiveness, that will be detrimental to your obtaining legal decision-making.
Yes. You must file a motion asking for it, after the petition for divorce is filed or with the petition as it is being filed. The court will set a hearing date, take evidence and make a decision if you all cannot decide. You really should be able to decide on a temporary agreement. Sometimes parents try different schedules until they find one that works. Not all the children in a family have to have the same schedule.
Yes. You can write and sign an agreement, as can be found in the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure Rule 69, which will be valid in court. You can attach it to your joint parenting agreement or rewrite into your final joint parenting agreement. It is valid, even if it is not filed with the court. It is a good idea to put it in writing during the pendency of the divorce, just so you have some certainty.
History of care giving is only one factor in determining the best interests of the children. Perhaps he never had the chance to co-parent in the past. But if he is doing a good job, the kids are happy and he is learning to be a good, involved father, congratulations to your family! Fathers often shift their work focus after a divorce so they can stay involved in their children’s lives, and that is a good thing.
Perhaps you are modeling parenting behavior for him. He is actually learning how to be a good parent by watching you. Good for your family! Keep up the good work! Be proud of him and happy for your kids.
Only if you and your spouse cannot agree. You really do not want to turn this life- changing decision over to a stranger who will only get to know your family in an hour or so of an evidentiary hearing. Not only do you relinquish all control, but having to testify and perhaps say negative things or answer embarrassing questions can leave the family scarred and impact future interactions. There is no
need to litigate these issues unless there is a domestic violence, drug or other abuse issue, and you must have the help of the court to protect your children.
No, judges do not care to speak with children. Your children can talk to counselors and they can write reports. Also, the conciliation services may choose to interview your children as part of a parenting conference. Children over the age of 6 or 7 can usually be interviewed.
This is beyond the scope of this book, but you could ask for a Rule 63 psychological examination or a decision-making evaluation.
It is a meeting with a neutral third party who talks with both parties and then drafts a report to give to the court. It can be ordered by the court or requested by either party. (See “Parenting Conference Through the Courts,” earlier in this chapter.)
CHILD SUPPORT IS DECIDED UPON THESE BASIC FACTORS, PLUS WHATEVER ELSE EACH PARENT PAYS FOR: Monthly salary of each parent Age of children Parenting time Day care costs Medical insurance Extracurricular expenses Number of other children not common to the marriage Spousal maintenance Affidavit of Financial Information Every case with children must have a document...Read More >