Parental Rights & Obligations

questions & answers

Question: My child is 7 years old , I’ve been an only parent for nearly all of that time with the non custodial parent making inconsistent monthly visits for the first year of life and completely disappearing for the next 6 (by own choice). My child was unaware non custodial parent existed . They show up months ago requesting to meet child & now is demanding parenting time . Essentially I feel as though my child was abandoned by none custodial parent & would like to know what rights to custody and parenting time the absent parent is allotted to if any after being absent for 6 years?

Answer: Your question does not tell us what the legal custody and child support situation is now.  Do you and your ex have a court order establishing legal decision-making (custody), visitation (parenting time), and setting child support?  Your options depend on the legal situation.  Is he the legal father with his name on the birth certificate? Is he paying child support through the court.  


If there is no legal custody arrangement, you may want to file a petition in court in the Arizona county where you live seeking sole legal decision-making for the child.  If there is a court order, you have the right to return to court to seek a modification of the court order under Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 25-411.  It would be a good idea to sit down with an attorney and get some advice.  Take all your legal papers on custody to the meeting.  There are three programs in Arizona that you can use to get inexpensive legal advice and guidance.  One is the modest means program.  You wil need to apply for the program and meet the financial qualifications.  Once you are qualified, Modest Means will send you a list of attorneys whose practice covers your area of concern.  You select a lawyer from the list and will be entitled to a one hour consultation for $75.  If you need additional help and if the lawyer agrees to take your case, the most you will be charged is  $75 per  hour.  The telephone number is (866) 637-5341.  Both Maricopa and Pima Counties have lawyer referral programs that offer a 30 minute consult with an attorney.  Maricopa County's Lawyer Referral Service offers its 30 minute consult with an experienced attorney for $40.  The telephone number is (602) 257-4434.  Pima County's Lawyer Referral Service offers a 30 minute attorney consult for $35.  The telephone number is (520) 623-4625.  If you decide to handle this without talking to a lawyer, you can find the forms you need along with instructions on the court's website.  Go to:  https://www.azcourts.gov/selfservicecenter/Family-Law-Forms.

QUESTIONS

  • My child is 7 years old , I’ve been an only parent for nearly all of that time with the non custodial parent making inconsistent monthly visits for the first year of life and completely disappearing for the next 6 (by own choice). My child was unaware non custodial parent existed . They show up months ago requesting to meet child & now is demanding parenting time . Essentially I feel as though my child was abandoned by none custodial parent & would like to know what rights to custody and parenting time the absent parent is allotted to if any after being absent for 6 years?

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  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
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    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
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