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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Jul 11, 2016

Custody rights differ from state to state in the U.S. Mothers used to receive favorable treatment in custody battles, but luckily for Arizona fathers, our state now recognizes the equal rights of fathers during a separation and a divorce. Both mothers and fathers equally qualify for primary custody of their child and are legally protected with parenting rights and responsibilities.

arizona paternity rights


Establishing a father’s custody in Arizona

Parents have the right to establish their own custody plan and parenting time. For parents who can’t agree, the Arizona Supreme Court will decide. This process usually starts by referring the parents to internal court mediation services to give them an opportunity to reach an agreement on their own. If they still cannot agree, the court will make an educated decision based on professional advice, home evaluations and the best interest of the child.

Types of custody in Arizona

There are several different terms used when granting legal custody to parents. In a divorce, you may be granted one of these forms of custody:

  • Sole custody- Only one person has custody of the child. The court orders one person responsible for making all major decisions regarding the child’s care and welfare.
  • Joint custody- Both parents have shared legal custody and/or physical custody of the child. In these cases, parents usually have to submit a written parenting plan to the court.
  • Joint legal custody- Both parents have the same rights to make decisions on their child’s care and welfare.
  • Joint physical custody- The child’s physical residence is shared by both parents so the child has equal time and contact with both parents.

Paternity and child custody in Arizona

In the state of Arizona, if the father is unmarried, he has no legal right to custody until he has established paternity either by agreement or by court ordered outlines.