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Arizona Parenting Plans and Ch...

Arizona Parenting Plans and Child Custody Explained

A parenting plan and child custody agreement is one of the most important negotiations you’ll make during your life. Whatever you decide will directly impact your child’s wellness and development, both physically and emotionally. 

There are many different possibilities regarding custody, visitation, and scheduling. Understanding the options will help you work out an agreement that’s right for your family. 

Here’s your guide to understanding parenting plans, custody, and parenting time in Arizona:

Parenting Plan 

In the state of Arizona, both parties must agree on a “parenting plan” before a judge will rule on a child custody agreement. The two main parts of a parenting plan are Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time, which includes a detailed schedule of visitation for the child. 

Hopefully, the two parents can agree on a schedule that works for everyone. However, if they can’t, each parent should submit a proposed parenting plan for the court’s consideration. Taking many factors into account, sole or joint legal decision making (custody), as well as the terms of parenting time will be decided upon. 

Legal Decision-Making (Legal Custody)

In Arizona, the term “custody” refers to Legal Decision-Making. Physical custody of a child is referenced as Parenting Time. 


“Legal Decision Making” is defined as the legal right and responsibility to make all non-emergency legal decisions for a child including those regarding:


  • Education
  • Health Care
  • Religious Upbringing
  • Personal Care 


In Joint Legal-Decision Making, both parents have equal rights and responsibilities in terms of decision making for their child. However, this does not necessarily mean equal parenting time. Parenting time is regarded as a separate issue from custody, or Legal-Decision Making. 


Sole Legal-Decision Making means that one parent has the legal right and responsibility to make decisions for their child. Just as Joint-Legal Decision Making doesn’t mean that parents will have equal parenting time, Sole-Legal Decision Making doesn’t mean that the other parent won’t have visitation rights or be able to see their child. 

Parenting Time (Physical Custody)


Parenting Time in Arizona is the scheduled time each parent has with their child. During the specified time the parent is responsible for providing food, shelter, clothing and routine decision making concerning the child’s care. 

When determining a parenting time and physical custody agreement each of the following areas must be addressed:

  • School Year Weekday and Weekend Time-Sharing Schedule 
  • Summer Months and School Breaks
  • Travel
  • Holiday Schedule
  • Parental Access to Records and Information (Medical, School, etc..)
  • Educational Arrangements
  • Medical and Dental Arrangements
  • Religious Education Arrangements
  • Parental Communication and any Additional Arrangements 

The amount of time each parent will have scheduled with their child depends upon numerous factors, including their physical location, the child’s school location and schedule, any issues such as a history of domestic violence or DUI/Drug related convictions, and the wishes of the child. Ultimately, the best interests of the child is what matters most. 

Discuss Parenting Plan Options with an Arizona Attorney

Whenever possible, it’s best to create a plan that keeps both parents in a child’s life. Understanding the types of Parenting Plan options available will help you and your ex reach a fair and healthy custody decision.

Do need help reaching a child custody and parenting time agreement? Then contact Reppucci and Roeder for a free consultation today at (480) 300-6012 today to see how we can help you.

Be sure to ask about the special financing options available through our EasyRetainer® program.


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