The parent who does not agree that it is in their child’s best interest to have equal parenting time with the other parent has the burden in court to prove that the schedule they want, is truly what is in their child’s best interest. Proving that burden in court can be extremely tricky and requires an experienced family law attorney to help you get the schedule that is important to you. Ms. Gillis will always be honest with you regarding her assessment of whether or not your goals are reasonable or attainable. She will never tell you what she thinks you want to hear simply to gain you as a client.
Ms. Gillis strongly believes that it is best for parents to determine an access schedule together. There are numerous ways in which Ms. Gillis can help even high conflict parents to come together and devise a schedule that takes into account your concerns and the best interests of your child. If parents are unable to agree on an appropriate access schedule, your family court judge will schedule a trial and take evidence to determine an appropriate order for legal decision making and parenting time.
Even parents who are denied the right to participate in making legal decisions for their child, are often entitled to have substantial parenting time, unless parenting time with the non-custodial parent does not serve the child’s best interests. The best interests of the child is the court’s paramount concern. Parents may be denied visitation rights for the following reasons:
A court finds evidence of domestic violence that was directed toward the child, or
- The parent has a history of alcohol or drug abuse
- The parent has significant mental health issues such that their ability to provide proper care to their child is hindered
- The parent’ parental rights have been terminated
Types of Alternative access schedules:
Restricted parenting time: parents may want to restrict parenting time for a non-custodial parents for several reasons including medical concerns, age of a child, or because a non-custodial parent may be institutionalized.
Supervised parenting time: A court may order supervised visitation rights for a parent which includes court-ordered contact between a parent and a child that is supervised by another person. A court will generally order supervised visitation rights if the parent poses a danger to the child.
Modifying an existing order for parenting time
If the current parenting plan is no longer desirable for either parent, the parent should seek a modification of visitation rights by starting a case in family court. Additionally, a parent should communicate openly about possible changes to the visitation schedule with the child’s other parent.
Under Arizona law it is important to remember that a parent shall not file a Petition to modify a legal decision making or parenting time order earlier than one year after its date unless the court allows it to be made on the basis of affidavits that there is reason to believe the child’s present environment may seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.
A parent may petition the court after six months from the entry of the last parenting time order if the other parent has failed to comply with the provisions of that order.
If you have any questions regarding a legal decision making or parenting time issue, call today for a consultation: (602) 277-4736.