My wife and I are getting divorced, and I am concerned about a fair custody agreement—do courts usually favor the mother?

In the last century, courts and judges have often given mothers unquestioned full custody and left fathers in the dust when it comes to custodial arrangements. These cases were based on antiquated psychological studies that led to a legal presumption known as the tender years presumption. This legal mindset—backed by science at the time—assumed that children under the age of sixteen would be harmed if they were taken away from their mother’s care.

Of course since then, science has concluded that children benefit most from equal contact and relationships with both parents. Arizona is one of the few states that has custody laws that support that theory, so your odds at being granted equal custody are good if it is in the best interests of your child. While reaching a co-parenting agreement with your ex-spouse can be challenging at first, in the end, everyone benefits—especially your child.

Another antiquated notion that is fortunately being abandoned over time is that a child’s father should bear the brunt of financial support, both spousal and child. Courts now place a higher priority on ensuring that both parents share the financial burdens fairly.

Seeking Joint Custody? Avoid Court and Reach an Agreement With a Mediator

With the shift toward co-parenting, the methods used to reach these agreements has also shifted. Unlike sole custody, both parties are looking to benefit, so going straight to court can automatically put an air of aggression over the proceedings. Discussing a joint custody and co-parenting agreement can often be solved amicably with a mediator outside of court, which can help your custody agreement get started on the right foot.

For help and advice regarding your child custody matters, our Phoenix family law attorneys can help ensure that your role in your child’s life remains equal and active—contact us today for a free consultation.