Ending a marriage is never easy, but when children are involved, the experience of divorce can be even more difficult. The number one priority for parents is the well-being of their children, so the most important decision during this time typically revolves around child custody. There are a number of factors that courts in Arizona take into account when determining which parent will have custody.
One big factor courts look to identify is which parent the children have deeper emotional ties with. Emotional health is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, component of a child's overall wellness. Courts will often look at which parent has knowledge of the child's interests and who mostly cares for the child's needs.
While a custody hearing may sometimes seem more about the parents, the child's wishes and opinions matter. Children obviously do not always know what is best for them, but courts often take into consideration the child's opinion -- depending on the child's age. Courts always look at the parent's ability to financially provide for the child. The living arrangement is probably the most important piece of the financial situation that courts factor in.
Going through a custody hearing can definitely be stressful for both parents and children. Ultimately, child custody is something that only courts can determine, though the parents can reach an agreement between themselves and present it to the court for approval. A child custody decision is always made with the best interest of the children in mind, often regardless of parent's wishes. The laws surrounding child custody vary from state to state, and it is always helpful for parents to gain an understanding of these laws. Arizona parents who have questions regarding child custody should consider discussions with an experienced attorney.