Time for a Change: Modifying Child Custody Orders in Arizona

Your life has changed since the time of your Scottsdale divorce, and your custody orders are no longer appropriate for where you are. Whether you, as parents, request the change or your now-teenaged child wants to live with the other parent, sometimes you need to reexamine and change custody orders in Arizona.

When Can I Change Custody Orders in Arizona?

In cases of abuse, neglect, or imminent danger, you can file for emergency orders to modify custody at any time. However, if you want to modify custody orders due to a situational change, then you generally must wait at least one year before filing for the modification. In some cases, the court may also require you to go through counseling or mediation before you can change your child custody orders.

How Do I Change My Arizona Custody Agreement?

If you want to modify a custody order, you will need to file with the court and provide proof that the change in custody is in the child's best interests and that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. If both parents agree and the change seems to be in the child's best interests, this usually goes smoothly. If the other parent opposes the change, or if the reasons for the custody change are flimsy, then the process could be much more complicated. The judge will carefully consider a lot of factors when deciding the "best interests" of the child in the case, including:

  • The child's relationship with each parent
  • The wishes of each parent
  • The child's wishes
  • If the change will have a negative impact on the child's life, whether at home, at school, or socially
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • The mental and physical health of the child

Keep in mind that the court is strict if it is felt that you are using the modification request to harass the other parent or if you have coerced the child into requesting the change.

If you'd like to modify child custody orders in Phoenix, contact one of our friendly and experienced Phoenix family law attorneys today at 1-888-929-5292. We'd be happy to answer your questions and address your concerns in a completely free consultation. We'd also like you to have a free copy of our helpful book, Arizona Family Law - How to Handle Tough Issues in Tough Times.