What is Custody?

In a broad sense, custody means “legal decision-making and parenting time.” But more specifically, the term “custody” is actually no longer used in Arizona. In 2012, the Arizona Legislature passed, and Governor Brewer signed, a bill that renamed custody as “legal decision-making and parenting time.” The thought was that many parents fought over “custody” without understanding what it really meant, so the Legislature reasoned if they made terms more descriptive of the rights involved, there would be less conflict over “custody.” So legal decision-making and parenting time are descriptive terms. Legal decision-making means the right to make decisions on behalf of your child when it comes to major decisions in the areas of healthcare, education, religious, and personal care decisions. And “parenting time” means the schedule of when the child is with each parent.

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