Arizona Parenting Time Plan – All You Need to Know

Stephen R. Glazer

Many difficulties come with separation and divorce. One aspect that is sometimes not given enough attention is the changeover to co-parenting and the division of parenting time. It’s always good to have a parenting time plan that both parents agree on. An Arizona parenting time plan has specific requirements for the court.

Navigating a transition like going from one household to two can prove complicated for some families, especially since there are so many factors to be considered. Even parents who were never married can have co-parenting issues. The bottom line is parenting time is important for parents and children.

Parenting Time Plan

Parenting time gives the non-custodial parent, the parent without sole legal custody, the chance to spend quality time with their child. In Arizona, a parent has a right to parenting time and to make sure there is constant contact with the child. This right can be denied, however, if there is any risk of child endangerment during parenting time.

When being submitted to the court, all Arizona parenting time plans must consist of the following:

  • A schedule for routine visitation, vacations, and applicable holidays
  • Both parents’ individual responsibilities for childcare
  • A course of action for regularly going over the plan to make necessary modifications
  • A mediation plan for changes to the agreement, violations of the agreement, or settling disputes
  • A statement from the parents acknowledging that they are aware joint custody does not denote equal time
  • A statement from both parents agreeing to inform the other parent if they are aware the child has any contact with a registered or convicted sex offender or anyone who has been found guilty of a crime against children

Parenting Time Plan Options

If you’re having a hard time deciding on a parenting plan, doing some research on possible options can help. Here are a few options parents consider.

It’s common for families to decide for the child to spend weekdays with the custodial parent and weekends with the non-custodial parent. This limits time for one parent but is a predictable and consistent option. If one parent works weekends or one parent works often during the week, this may be a good plan.

Many parents opt for the 50/50 parenting plan option, where each parent gets equal time with the child. This is common in families where the parents have joint physical custody. One way to do a 50/50 parenting plan is with weekly exchanges. The child gets to be with each parent for seven days at a time, giving them a chance to settle in and weekend time to adjust if the parenting week starts on a Friday.

For parents who live in different states or countries, a common plan is to have the child spend the school year with one parent and summer with the other parent. This can mean prolonged periods away from each parent, difficulty transitioning to another home, and it would require significant communication, but it’s another option that offers consistency.

Each plan has its advantages and disadvantages. If none of these plan options sound ideal, there are plenty more to choose from. Choose the one that is right for you and is in the interest of the child.

Choosing a Parenting Time Plan for Your Family

When it comes to choosing a parenting plan, the decision isn’t always easy. It all comes down to what is right for your family and your children.

Here are some important things to keep in mind when choosing a plan:

  • Age of the child
  • The child’s attachment to both parents
  • Child support
  • Special needs for the child or parents
  • Distance between parents’ homes
  • Child and parents’ schedules
  • Relationship and communication between parents
  • The fitness of both parents

Parenting plans are often left to the discretion of the parents, but the court may intervene if disagreements arise or if an agreed-upon plan no longer works. They will then decide on what’s right for the child. In cases when both parents want to have joint legal custody, a written parenting plan is required for the court. If one parent doesn’t want joint legal custody, the court can still order it.

FAQs

Q: At What Age Can a Child Refuse to See a Parent in Arizona?

A: Children under the age of 18 cannot refuse court-ordered parenting time or visitation. Depending on the age and maturity of the child, a court may consider which parent they prefer when deciding on a parenting plan. However, it isn’t a requirement. The court will still operate in the overall interest of the child.

Q: At What Age Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in AZ?

A: A minor cannot choose which parent they live with, and it may be better this way. Children can be fickle about the parent they prefer at any given moment. If they were allowed to choose who they lived with, custody could be everchanging, and this would not allow for a very stable home life.

Q: How Is Parenting Time Calculated in AZ?

A: In Arizona, the court’s concern is with deciding how much time the non-custodial parent may spend with the child. The number of days a child spends with each parent is decided by a set of guidelines that include both parents’ incomes, who is providing child support, and the duration of time both parents have spent with the child.

Q: Can My Ex Track Me During My Parenting Time in Arizona?

A: According to Arizona law, a person may not track or surveil a specific person without the consent of said person. Unless it has been ordered by the court, your ex is not within their right to track you during your parenting time. If they do, they are infringing on your privacy and parental rights.

Professional Assistance

Parenting time doesn’t always have to involve the court, but when it does, you want a lawyer who understands all the complexities that come with planning. If you find it difficult for you and the other parent to sit down and come up with a parenting plan together, consider having someone present who can go over all possibilities with you. Talk to the lawyers at Glazer, Hammond, Ruben & Smets, PLLC for assistance, contact us today.

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