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PLANNING FOR PARENTING TIME – ARIZONA’S GUIDE FOR PARENTS LIVING APART

10May
2010
When parents who live in separate homes share legal custody they are mandated by Arizona statute to have a written parenting plan. The written plan is required to outline among other things, the time that their children will spend with each parent. Although children do best with the predictability and consistency provided by a formal plan, it is not always easy for the parents to reach agreements.
An informational guide has been adopted by a committee appointed by the Arizona Supreme court to provide some guidance for parents who are grappling with how much parenting time to give the other parent. The document called Planning for Parenting Time – Arizona’s Guide for Parents Living Apart is on the Supreme Court’s website at:
http://www.supreme.state.az.us/nav2/ParentingPlansWorkgroup/Documents/PPWguidelines.pdf
While there is a strong caveat that the information is not binding and is not the law, it can be a helpful tool for parents to see the various options that may be available. There are two sections “Children Benefit When” and “Children Are Harmed When” that provide critical factors for parents to consider so that their decisions can truly be in the best interests of their children.
The guide provides suggested parenting plan options based upon a number of factors, and is broken down according to the child’s age. It provides general tips for long distance parenting and addresses special issues such as parents who were never married, special needs children, the need for reunification when a parent has been absent, blended families, breast feeding, and children who don’t want to go with the other parent.
Various methodologies are provided for parties to consider in order to resolve custody and parenting time disputes out of court, including a collaborative approach, mediation, or utilization of mental health personnel, and the guide formally introduces the concept of a less comprehensive “Brief Focused Evaluation” which may replace a full blown custody evaluation where only specific issues need to be address or an existing parenting plan simply needs to be updated.
The committee who worked on the guidelines included Family Court Judges, Psychologists, Counselors, Attorneys, Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Staff. The work groups conducted exhaustive research of other jurisdictions and obtained consultations with well-known child experts.
THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS INTENDED AS GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE, NOR IS IT INTENDED TO BE RELIED UPON AS SUCH,AND IS NOT INTENDED TO ESTABLISH AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. IF YOU HAVE A LEGAL QUESTION, PLEASE PERSONALLY CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY OF YOUR CHOOSING.
Posted in child custody, child support, collaborative, division of property, divorce, enforcement, family law, jurisdiction, mediation, paternity, prenuptial agreements |