Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: Can the child decide where to live

Answer: This is a difficult question. Unfortunately there is not a rule of law that provides a definitive answer. However, the one rule that may help is found under A.R.S. §25-405. This rule states a child may be interviewed in chambers to determine the child’s wishes as to the child’s custodian and parenting time. Pursuant to A.R.S. §25-403 the court shall consider many factors in determining the physical custody of the child. The factors, under this rule are provided here: A. The court shall determine legal decision-making and parenting time, either originally or on petition for modification, in accordance with the best interests of the child. The court shall consider all factors that are relevant to the child's physical and emotional well-being, including: 1. The past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and the child. 2. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child's parent or parents, the child's siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest. 3. The child's adjustment to home, school and community. 4. If the child is of suitable age and maturity, the wishes of the child as to legal decision-making and parenting time. 5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved. 6. Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the other parent. This paragraph does not apply if the court determines that a parent is acting in good faith to protect the child from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim of domestic violence or child abuse. 7. Whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay, to increase the cost of litigation or to persuade the court to give a legal decision-making or a parenting time preference to that parent. 8. Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to section 25-403.03. 9. The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding legal decision-making or parenting time. 10. Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title. 11. Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02. B. In a contested legal decision-making or parenting time case, the court shall make specific findings on the record about all relevant factors and the reasons for which the decision is in the best interests of the child. The court has many considerations to make when deciding what is in the best of the child in determining the child custody and parenting time. As such, a child’s wish may be only one of the factors stated above.

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  • Can the child decide where to live

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