How To Modify Parenting Time In Arizona

Parenting time arrangements can be one of the most consequential decisions a court makes when determining a child’s best interests. However, it is not uncommon for those arrangements to become unworkable or undesirable for either parent or the child involved. Arizona family courts allow for the modification of parenting time orders in certain situations. In this article, we will discuss various aspects of modifying parenting time arrangements in Arizona.

What Constitutes A Parenting Time Modification In Arizona?

A parenting time modification generally refers to any changes made to the parenting time provisions in an existing child custody and support order. Parenting time modifications are usually initiated in two scenarios:

  • Either parent is seeking more time with the child or children; or
  • Either parent seeks a reduction in the other’s parenting time.

To succeed in modifying parenting time arrangements, the parent seeking the change must demonstrate a significant change in circumstances, which must justify changing the existing parenting time orders.

Reasons For Parenting Time Modification

Some of the common reasons parents seek parenting time modifications include:

  • Relocating to another city or state
  • A change in a parent’s work schedule or job location
  • The child’s age or health and the need for adjustment in parenting time provisions
  • A new relationship or married status
  • Changes in the parent’s financial circumstances affecting their ability to care for the child
  • The child’s needs and welfare have been affected due to a change of circumstances in the home of either parent
  • Increased conflict between the parents affecting the child

Special considerations for military parents

Military parents often face unique challenges with parenting time modifications. Frequent deployments and unpredictable schedules can make scheduling parenting time difficult. Arizona courts take this into account and provide for specific provisions for military parents to ensure that they get their fair share of parenting time.

How To File For Parenting Time Modification

Parenting time modifications are court-ordered, meaning that a formal and legal process must be followed. The following steps should be taken to initiate a parenting time modification in Arizona:

Step 1: Filing A Petition For Modification

The first step is to file a petition for modification with the court that issued the original custody and support order. This petition should set forth the reasons why the current parenting time provisions should be modified. The petition should also include proposals for the particular modification requested. The petitioner should also ensure that the petition is served on the other parent of the child.

Step 2: The Response & Counter Petition

If the other parent disagrees with the proposed modification, they can file a response to contest the petition for modification. The responding parent should also file a counter-petition if they wish to request a modification of the existing parenting time arrangements. Responding gives the other parent an opportunity to present their point of view to the court.

Step 3: The Initial Conference

After filing, the court typically schedules an initial conference within 60 days to allow parents to present their views. Additionally, the conference will help to identify any areas of disagreement that cannot be resolved mutually and recommend family mediation.

Step 4: Mediation

If an agreement can’t be reached, either parent can request mediation, where they can settle their disputes with the help of a neutral third party mediator. If mediation fails, the court proceeds to a hearing.

Step 5: The Hearing

If the parents fail to come to a resolution, the court will proceed to a hearing that will allow both parties to present their case. The final modification order will be given by the court after analyzing the best interests of the child and the parent’s situation. After this, the modified parenting time order will be entered and enforceable.

Work With an Experienced Attorney

Navigating parenting time modifications in Arizona can be daunting, and it’s essential to have an experienced attorney by your side. Experienced family law attorneys will help you through the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. Additionally, a knowledgeable attorney will work to secure the best possible outcome for you and your child’s overall well-being.

Final Thoughts

Parenting time modifications are quite common, and there are various reasons why a parent may seek a modification. The process can be complex and emotionally challenging, but an experienced attorney can help make it more manageable. If you’re facing difficulties with your parenting time arrangements in Arizona, contact a family law attorney to discuss your options and challenges.

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