What Are Fathers’ Rights in an Arizona Divorce?

Under the US Constitution and Arizona law, fathers have equal rights to child custody. What are the challenges facing dads? Using a divorce lawyer in Prescott for men to successfully assert their fathers’ rights in court.

Don’t cave on parenting issues if you want to maintain a loving, meaningful relationship with your child. As a father, you must be prepared to fight for equal or nearly equal parenting time. You can be more involved in your child’s life if you have a parenting plan in place. When it comes to parenting time, assert your rights as the child’s father if you want more than casual visits every other weekend. We can assist you with father’s rights in Arizona.

In Arizona, What Are the Father’s Rights When It Comes to Custody of His Children?
Divorced parents in Arizona have joint legal decision-making and parenting time. It is more common than ever for dads to have sole legal decision-making rights with 182 or more days of parenting time. The court balances the child’s best interests against each parent’s Fourteenth Amendment liberty interests in every custody case. The father should devote all available resources to exercising his constitutionally protected, fundamental right to rear his child.

What are the rights of the father? In Arizona, each parent has equal parental rights; the father has the following rights as a legal parent:

Legal Decision-Making
A father may request joint or sole legal decision-making custody. If he is the sole legal decision maker, he determines the child’s education, care, health care, and religious training.

Parenting Time
A father has the right to request majority parenting time, equal parenting time, or less parenting time than the other parent. Parenting time allows him to remain in constant contact with his child in a substantial, frequent, and meaningful manner.

Regardless of whether the other parent has sole legal decision-making authority, dad has a right to parenting time. When a father is concerned about a child’s well-being while in the other parent’s care, he can request supervised custody and parenting time for that parent. If the other parent obstructs his parenting time, he (or a men’s divorce attorney in Prescott, AZ) may ask the court to sanction them.

Factors Affecting Child Custody
Fathers are entitled to provide supporting evidence on each child custody factor so that the court can determine a favorable parenting arrangement. To determine what is in the child’s best interests, the court weighs relevant evidence and ensures the child’s physical and emotional well-being. A couple of examples of evidence Dad can provide include:

  • The relationship between his child and him in the past, the present, and the future.
  • The ability to support his child’s adjustment to home, school, and community.
  • His physical and mental health, as well as that of the child and the other parent.
  • His ability to maintain frequent, meaningful, and continuous contact with the other parent.
  • Intentional misrepresentations by other parents to obtain a favorable outcome, delay, or increase litigation costs. (He may also seek sanctions against the other parent for improper litigation misconduct).
  • Domestic violence or child abuse by the other parent.
  • False reports of domestic violence or child abuse against the father by the other parent.
  • The other parent coerces the father.
  • A refusal by the other parent to agree to legal decision-making terms.
  • Lack of cooperation from the other parent during legal decision-making.
  • Joint legal decision-making problems, etc.

Rights Relative to Parenting Plans
If no agreement can be reached after negotiating and mediating, the father (or a family law attorney in Prescott, AZ) has the right to propose his parenting plan. In his plan, he should include:

  • Whether to make legal decisions alone or jointly.
  • Personal care, education, health care, and religious training.
  • The schedule he follows for parenting time.
  • Whether he will mediate, conciliate, or provide private counseling in matters of relocation, dispute, or breach. Continually review the plan and make changes as needed.
  • Parent-to-parent communication plan.

Any element of a parenting plan that does not have the parties’ agreement will be decided by the court. When a father is seeking custody, he should propose a parenting plan that represents the child’s best interests and acknowledges the other parent’s rights.

Custody rights are only granted to a legal parent. Stepfathers do not have the right to visit their children, but they may be able to obtain third-party visitation by showing they are in loco parentis to the child. Unmarried men must first establish paternity. If he acknowledges paternity without proof he is the child’s biological father, it could be a problematic and expensive process.

DNA testing can be used to establish paternity by a court-approved scientific method. An experienced family law attorney in Prescott can help the putative father establish paternity or, if necessary, contest paternity. To assert the father’s custody rights, he must prove that he is the biological father of the child. The best course of action in this case is to consult a paternity lawyer. Divorce lawyers in Prescott, AZ, can also assist men with unmarried step-parenting issues that are very complex.

Legal Strategies Are Important for Fathers
A father’s custody strategy is usually different from the other parent’s in most cases in family law in Prescott, AZ. Make sure you stay on top of things. Make sure you don’t get blindsided. Be aware of what to expect from the other party’s lawyer and rely on your own.

Co-Parenting Under Arizona Custody Law
In Arizona, fathers actively participate in their children’s daily lives, so they are knowledgeable about childcare. Having good parenting skills is crucial to Dad’s custody case. The father must prove to the court that he is, or can become, a parent capable of making legal and parenting decisions in order to be entrusted with the child’s care. The court makes custody decisions based on the child’s best interests.

How does Dad prove his case? Using his testimony. Providing evidence that he is a dependable, involved parent. By describing his parenting time and activities with the child, doctor’s visits, parent-teacher consultations, homework lessons, overnights, outdoor activities, meals, and dining out. Keeping a personal record of what occurs during his parenting time. Journaling can be beneficial and boost credibility with the judge.

Strong Family Ties and Responsible Fatherhood
What prevents responsible fathers from nurturing and maintaining strong relationships with their children? Beware of narrow-minded, outdated views of fatherhood. Divorce occurs between spouses, not between parents and children. The role of a father should never be diminished. Don’t be a child support payer who gets a few days of vacation every other year. Children’s lives are more than weekends and alternating holidays.

In the absence of vigorous enforcement of his parental rights, a father may find himself emotionally and physically distant from his child, perhaps permanently. The child also suffers negative consequences. Children’s behavior, education, and society can be negatively affected by preventing Dad’s active parenting. Fathers who are involved with their children do better in general. In every court proceeding, remember that enforcing the father’s legal rights also protects the child.

The judge must recognize and respect the father’s role in raising the child when applying Arizona’s child custody factors according to A.R.S. 25-403. Willison Law, PC provides an experienced Prescott divorce attorney who fights for dads’ rights and pursues fair settlements when necessary. The bond between father and child is valuable and irreplaceable. Please contact us if you would like more information about a father’s rights.

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