Legal Decision Making Authority

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Legal Decision Making Authority (Custody)

Legal Decision Making Authority relates to major decisions affecting the child’s education, religion, and medical care as well as issues pertaining to mental health treatment and personal care decisions.. When partiesfirst walk into a Court, the presumption is that the parties should be awarded Joint Legal Decision Making Authority. The Court has a number of factors they must consider in determining legal decision making The factors are as follows:
The Court must make decisions regarding legal decision-making and parenting time, either originally or on petition for modification, in accordance with the best interests of the child. In determining the child’s best interests, the court must consider all factors that are relevant to the child’s physical and emotional well-being, including:
In a contested legal decision-making or parenting time case, the court must issue specific findings on the record about all relevant factors and the reasons for which its ruling on these issues is in the best interests of the child.
Up until recently Arizona did not have a set age at which a child could decide what parent he or she wanted to live with. However, Arizona just passed legislation that will allow a child aged 14 or older to decide what parent he or she wants to live with. The key to this will be the child’s maturity level. The more mature the child is, the more weight the Court will put on what the child wants. Prior to this legislation being passed, the child’s wants or desires was just one of many factors the Court had to consider.

When Can a Child Decide Where He or She Wants to Live


Why are temporary orders necessary? In Arizona, specifically Maricopa County, a divorce or custody action can take anywhere between 12 and 18 months to be completed. If a party needs orders sooner than 12 to 18 months, a party can petition the Court for temporary orders. This allows the court to issue orders sooner than the 12 to 18 month timeframe before permanent orders are issued in a case. . This also allows the Court to award parenting time to a party whose parenting time may be being withheld by the other party. A motion for temporary orders can be filed so long as there is a pending petition for dissolution, legal, separation, or establishment pending with the court. A temporary order can address, parenting time, legal decision-making, child support, spousal maintenance, an interim award of attorney fees, exclusive use of a home and/or in some cases, even a division of assets and debts. Once temporary orders are implemented by the court, those orders will remain in place until a final decree is issued by the Court, or until otherwise modified by the Court during the pendency of the case.