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How to Get Custody of a Child in Arizona

Watch this short video on how to get custody of a child in Arizona:


For non-married parents in Arizona, a Petition to Establish Paternity is the first step in asking for custody of a child. Once paternity is established, or if the parents are or were married, they would file a Petition to Establish Custody.

The court will be primarily concerned with the best interest of the child during a custody battle. As of January 1, 2013, courts have started using 50/50 joint custody as the norm, unless one party does not want joint custody or if one party can prove to the court why joint custody is not in the best interest of the child.

When petitioning the court for custody of a child, the parent needs to be very specific about all aspects of why they would make a good custodian and why it would be in the best interest of the child. Factors considered would include the employment hours of the parents, whether adequate living arrangements are present, the proximity of the parents’ homes to the child’s school, and their availibility to take the child to and from school and extracurricular activities.

Custody determinations can also differ depending on the age of the child. Very young children may have a greater need to stay with their primary caregiver. Older children may adjust better to living half of the time with their mom and half of the time with their dad. During the teenage years, some children have an easier time living with the same-sex parent.

In order for joint physical custody to work, both parents must be able to act as the primary caregiver for the child during their parenting time. They must be available to take the children to and from school, to find them suitable care after school, to help them with their homework at night and have established bedtime routines, as well as foster and encourage a healthy relationship with the other parent.

There are also legal custody issues involved in this decision making process, such as the religious beliefs of both parents, or whether both parents would encourage and support extracurricular activities of the child. Legal custody also gives parents equal rights to issues like having access to the child’s medical records and school records, regardless of the physical custody arrangement.


If you need help with a Custody matter in Arizona, you can count on the Cantor Law Group. To speak with an experienced custody attorney, call our offices at (602) 254-8880 or send us a confidential email by using our secure email form.

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