As if your custody dispute was not difficult enough, you encountered some legal problems that will end up on your record. Perhaps you received a DUI or a marijuana possession charge. It might have been a past offense that occurred long ago.
You wonder how legal issues, that had nothing to do with your relationship with your child, might impact your ability to obtain custody or visitation rights. In these circumstances, it is helpful to know how custody works in Arizona.
What legal problems might impede custody and visitation?
In Arizona, the laws work to favor the interest of the child or children involved. Custody laws in the state are not automatically weighted in the favor of a child’s mother. Thus, in custody or visitation cases, the court weighs many factors. Criminal convictions do not necessarily prevent parents from retaining custody. What is important is evidence of a pattern of behavior that prevents you from offering your child a stable, nurturing environment.
What happens when the other parent says I do not deserve custody?
Separated or divorcing parents often disagree about their child’s living arrangements. It is not unusual for one parent to site legal problems to say that the other is unfit for any type of custody or visitation. The Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure allow the court to investigate the history, relationships and dwellings of both parents in order to determine what is most suited to the welfare of your child.
While the court may take many factors into consideration, legal issues including felonies and imprisonment do not automatically impede your parental rights.