Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: f I have a 10yr old son ,the father has never been in his life. I do not ask for child support.I want to get full custody rights. Whats the process that i need to take?

Answer:

You may want to review the articles and questions and answers already posted to this site about child custody. Depending on the situation, filing for custody may be complex. You may want to consult an attorney. The following is provided as general information about custody in Arizona.

The procedure for custody changes depending upon whether there is a court ordered custodial arrangement to modify, or whether the court has never determined custody. The procedure will also change if the father has not established paternity, as well as whether all of the parties live in Arizona.

Custody is up to the court to decide. A.R.S. § 25-403 states, "The court shall determine custody, either originally or on petition for modification, in accordance with the best interests of the child." A.R.S. § 25-403-01 discusses that the court can award sole or joint custody. A.R.S. § 25-408 discusses the rights of the noncustodial parent, including parenting time.

A.R.S. § 25-814 discusses a presumption of paternity if a man and "the mother of the child were married at any time in the ten months immediately preceding the birth or the child is born within ten months after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity or dissolution of marriage or after the court enters a decree of legal separation." However, presumptions can be overcome. A.R.S. § 25-812 discusses voluntary acknowledgment of paternity and the process for challenging a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.

To find the forms to either establish custody or to modify custody, you may want to contact your local superior court. Some courts or law libraries have the family law forms and information available online - such as Maricopa County, Pima County and Coconino County.

Again, depending on the specifics of the situation, the process may change. You may want to consult with an attorney to receive guidance on your specific situation.

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