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Compassionate Child Custody Lawyer in Tempe, Arizona

tempe child custody lawyer

Adriana Blanchette is Tempe’s premier family law attorney. As a working mother, Mrs. Blanchette empathizes with the gravity of these situations, and her experience makes her a strong advocate for parents and children alike.

Blanchette Law PLLC is waiting to help resolve your custody or visitation dispute. Fill out the online contact form or call (602) 881-1748 to schedule your consultation. In the meantime, keep reading to learn about child custody in Arizona and how Blanchette Law PLLC can help.

Child Custody Disputes in Arizona

Although every child custody dispute is different, they’re all required to follow the same rules, guidelines, and ultimately reach resolution via an agreement or court order regarding which parent has the right to make decisions for your child (legal custody) and where your child will live (physical custody or parenting time).

Before you can understand the different ways child custody can be ordered, you need to understand the types of custody. 

Types of Custody

  • Legal Custody entails the decision making for a child, including their education, medical care, religion, participation in activities, and so on.
  • Physical Custody is essentially where the child lives–this can be primarily with one parent with parenting time or visitation with the other parent or a 50/50 schedule where the child lives with each parent equally. The possible parenting time arrangements are endless, but this schedule can be changed as your child’s needs change as they get older.

The Type of Custody Determines Each Parent’s Responsibilities

The type of custody order essentially dictates the role that each parent has in the child’s life. 

Sole Custody

tempe sole custody lawyer

When a parent receives sole custody of a child, they’re responsible for making all major decisions for the child and for providing the day-to-day care the child needs. A parent who’s given sole custody doesn’t allow them to exclude the other parent–parents are still encouraged to work together when making decisions for their child.

However, the parent with sole custody can make the final decision if the parents don’t agree. One parent can still have visitation if a sole custody order has been issued. 

Joint Custody

A joint custody order can mean that the parents share legal custody and/or share physical custody. Joint custody for either legal or physical custody doesn’t guarantee or require a 50/50 parenting time schedule. Joint physical custody can involve any of the following:

  • Joint legal custody where the parents must make the decisions together, but the child lives primarily with one parent and has parenting time with the other
  • Joint legal custody with joint decision-making rights and a 50/50 parenting timeshare schedule
  • Joint legal custody where the parents should make all decisions together, but it’s found to be best for the child if one parent has the “last say” for the decisions, and the child mostly lives with one parent and spends time with the other parent
  • Joint legal custody with ultimate decision rights to one parent and an equal shared parenting time schedule.

Establishing or Modifying a Child Custody Order

Courts Don’t Favor Sole or Joint Custody

In Arizona, the law doesn’t automatically favor joint or sole custody over the other. Instead, the judges are concerned for what’s best for the child under the legal standard “best interests of a child.”

Arizona courts consider many factors when making a custody decision, modifying an existing agreement or order, or granting a parent’s request to relocate with the child. Some of those factors include:

  1. Child’s preference, if they are of suitable age and maturity
  2. Past, present, and potential future relationship between each parent and the child
  3. Relationship between the child and any person who may significantly affect the child’s interests, such as a sibling or grandparent
  4. Child’s ability to adjust to changes in their home, school, and community
  5. Mental and physical health of each parent
  6. Likelihood of each parent to encourage regular contact with the other parent (except in cases where the child has been or could be exposed to domestic violence)
  7. Manipulative efforts by a parent in order to cause delays or change the outcome of the case
  8. Both parents’ compliance or noncompliance with the Domestic Relations Education on Children’s Issues under A.R.S. §25-351-355.

tempe joint custody lawyer

It can be difficult to know how to effectively present evidence that you feel will ultimately garner an order that will benefit your child. Your child’s mental and physical well-being isn’t an issue you should try to handle on your own.

Instead, you should contact Blanchette Law PLLC right away to ensure that neither you or your child are taken advantage of or ignored.

Modifying Existing Agreements/Orders

Modifying an existing child custody agreement or order can be requested by either parent, however there are restrictions on those requests. Under A.R.S. §25-411(A), a request for modification of the current order can be filed at any time if “the child’s present environment may seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.” 

If not for these circumstances, the request can’t be made for at least one year after the prior order, and you must demonstrate that there’s been a significant and ongoing change of circumstances that warrants a change in custody and/or parenting time. 

Any request for modification must be proven to be in the child’s best interest in accordance with the standards above.


A common modification request is when one parent wants to relocate with the child. A relocation is a complicated request to make and oppose because in addition to proving the best interests standard, A.R.S. §25-408 requires that the court consider additional factors including, among others:

  • The distance of the move
  • The motives and validity of the move
  • The likelihood of either parent complying with court orders
  • The affect the move will have on the non-moving parent to have a relationship with the child
  • The extent to which the move will affect the emotional, physical, or developmental needs of the child

Tempe child custody lawyer Adriana Blanchette understands that there’s nothing more important to you than your child and that you’re committed to providing them with a life where they know they’re loved and supported unconditionally, regardless of the custody situation that will promote that lifestyle. 

Grandparent or Third-Party Custody and Visitation Rights

tempe grandparent custody

Under some circumstances, the court may grant custody or visitation rights to someone who isn’t the child’s biological parent such as grandparents or other third-parties if it’s in the child’s best interests.

The relationship between the person petitioning for custody or visitation and the child depicts if they’re eligible to seek custody orders, when they may seek them, and what they must prove to have their requests granted. 

Grandparent or third-party custody requests are even more complex than a standard child custody issue and requires the experienced team at Blanchette Law PLLC to ensure that a child’s interests are properly considered by the court.

Working Toward Resolution

Every child custody case is unique and will have a different journey toward resolution. Adriana Blanchette can assist all parties respectfully and without bias as a certified mediator.

She’ll explain the effects of every decision on all the parties involved, including the child. With her years of experience in child custody cases, she can provide unmatched assistance toward a resolution.

As a Working Mother, Adriana Empathizes With Your Situation. Call Today.

As a mother, Adriana empathizes with your struggles as a parent of fighting for what you know is best for your child, especially when it feels like your life, and theirs, have been turned upside down due to a separation or divorce. 

Call Blanchette Law PLLC today to get started on the next chapter in your life. Call (602) 881-1748 to schedule a consultation today.

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