Untitled - 2020-07-28T131951.209.jpg

Legal Decision Making vs. Parenting Time - What's The Difference?

Many people are familiar with the idea of child custody, which is a term used when discussing where a child would live for the majority of their time. But here in Arizona, courts have split the term “custody” into two separate parts:

  • Legal Decision Making

  • Parenting time

In today’s blog post, we’ll be talking about the difference between these two terms and how it affects those filing for divorce. If you are going through a divorce or thinking about hiring a divorce attorney, it is important to familiarize yourself with Arizona divorce law. Here at The Law Offices of Michael D. Miller Jr. in Chandler, our family law attorney has nearly 40 years of experience helping people through the divorce process. Continue reading to learn more, and if you’re ready to book a consultation, contact us today.

Legal Decision Making

Legal decision-making authority grants one or both parents the ability to make decisions for the child concerning matters of education, healthcare, religion, and personal care. There are three types of Legal Decision making Authority:

  1. Sole legal decision-making authority

  2. Joint legal decision-making authority

  3. Joint legal decision-making authority with final decision-making authority

Under sole decision-making authority, only one parent has the legal authority to make decisions for the child. The other parent does not have any authority, and this is often called sole custody. In the case of joint legal decision making, both parents must come to a mutual decision for the child. If parents fail to agree to a decision, there may be a need for court intervention.

The third category — joint legal decision-making authority with final decision-making authority — requires both parents to try to come to an agreement on the decision, but only one parent has the ultimate authority to make the decision. The parent with the final decision-making authority must make a good faith effort to accommodate the wishes of the other parent and failure to act in good faith can cause a need for court intervention.

If you are in need of more information about these three categories of legal decision making or what option may be best for you and your co-parent, contact The Law Offices of Michael D. Miller Jr. and schedule a consultation.

Parenting Time

Parenting time sets the schedule of time in which each parent has access to their child. During their parenting time, the parent is responsible for providing the child with food, clothing, and shelter and they may also make “routine decisions” concerning their child’s care.

The legal parents of the child can decide on a parenting plan schedule without needing the intervention of the. If an agreement cannot be made, though, then a judge will decide parenting time based on the best interests of the child.

Best Interest of Child

Every divorce and family situation is different, so each divorce case is unique. Here at The Law Offices of Michael D. Miller Jr., we understand the importance of being in close contact with our clients so that we can understand their unique situation. Mr. Miller is one of only a few family law attorneys in Chandler at his experience level who provides clients with his cell phone number. His goal is to look out for your best interests, and the best interests of the child.

When considering the best interests of the child in order to award decision making authority and parenting time, courts will look into the following factors:

  • Child’s past, present, and future relationship with their parents.

  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community.

  • The physical and mental health of the child and other individuals involved.

  • Any history of child abuse or domestic violence.

  • If age-appropriate, the wishes of the child.

  • And other pertinent factors, which Mr. Miller can discuss with you.

The court will assume that it is in the best interests of the child to split time evenly between the two parents, unless there are other factors involved.

If you are going through a divorce and legal decision making and parenting time are being determined, it is important to have a family law attorney like Michael D. Miller Jr. at your side. He will not only ensure that your children are protected, but that you are as well. Schedule a consultation today.

CTA 1.jpg

The Law Offices of Michael D. Miller Jr. - Family Law Attorney

Michael D. Miller Jr. has nearly 40 years of experience working in family and divorce law, and he has a deep understanding of legal decision-making and parenting time in divorce cases. This blog post provides a brief overview, and if you’re interested in learning more about these matters and how they pertain to your divorce case, schedule a consultation. Know that when you choose to work with Mr. Miller in Chandler, you are getting help from a family law attorney who will always put your best interests first.