Child Custody, Parenting Plans, and Best Interests of the Child


Whenever there is a child involved in a couple’s break-up, major decisions on custody need to be made in that child’s best interests.

The custody issues that unmarried parents encounter in Arizona differ in some ways from those faced by their married counterparts. When unmarried parents have a child, but paternity, custody, and parenting time have not yet been established, then the instability and unpredictability of each parent's access to the child can be very detrimental for everyone in the family.

Although an informal parenting agreement between unmarried parents may work for a while, it is inadequate for the long term. Remember that the long term is 18 years, unless the child is emancipated earlier. Informal parenting arrangements can be helpful for some couples in the interim, but they won’t help resolve problems when a parenting conflict arises.

Whether the couple is married or unmarried, either parent may seek to gain primary custody of the child. When the custody action is initiated, the court begins assessing what is in the best interests of the child.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Scott David Stewart, Stewart & Lane, PLC | Attorney Advertising

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