Often, parents fight over joint versus sole legal decision-making simply because they don’t understand what it is or what the law says about it.
In fact, the term “legal decision-making” sounds more complicated than it is and also appears to apply to all types of decisions. Yet, the definition under Arizona law reveals that legal decision-making refers to non-emergency legal decisions related to your child’s education, health care, religious training and personal care decisions.
As a result, ask yourself the following questions:
Do my co-parent and I agree/disagree on decisions related to our child(ren)’s education?
Do my co-parent and I agree/disagree on decisions related to our child(ren)’s non-emergency health care?
Do my co-parent and I agree/disagree on decisions related to our child(ren)’s religious training?
Do my co-parent and I agree/disagree on decisions related to our child(ren)’s non-emergency personal care decisions?
If you concluded that you and your co-parent are in agreement on those issues, then joint legal decision-making is most likely the most appropriate option in your circumstances.
If, however, you concluded that you and your co-parent do not agree on education, health care, religious training, and/or personal care decisions for your child(ren), then explore whether it is in your child(ren)’s best interests to request an award of sole legal decision-making.
Overall, keep in mind that Arizona law favors parents sharing joint legal decision-making and the court will want a valid reason as to why joint legal decision-making is not in the best interests of the child(ren).
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Julie LaBenz has been licensed to practice law in Arizona since 2006. She seeks to simply common legal problems and processes parents and families often face through packaged legal services and information for set, affordable prices.