Modifying a Parenting Time Agreement

Many people believe that once physical custody (called "parenting time" in Arizona) has been established with the Court it is set in stone. In Arizona, this is not the case although a litigant will have to meet certain criteria in order to change their current orders.

Usually, a parenting time order cannot be changed (referred to as "modified") during the first year it has been put into place unless it can be proven that significant emotional or physical harm may come to the child at issue if the order is not immediately changed. However, once a year has passed either parent is free to file pleadings with the court to change their parenting time orders. In determining if a change is warranted, the court must consider whether there has been a change in the circumstances that were in place when the original orders were put into place.

If the court finds that there has been a continuing change in circumstances, they must then consider Arizona Revised Statute 25-403, which states that "consistent with the child's best interests... the court shall adopt a parenting plan that provides for both parentis to share legal decision-making regarding their child and that maximizes their respective parenting time. The court shall not prefer a parent's proposed plan because of the parent's or child's gender."

In the event the court decides it is in the best-interests of the child to change the parenting-time orders (or if the parties have agreed to change their orders) the new parenting plan will at a minimum contain the following provisions:

  • A designation of joint or some legal decision-making.
  • Each parent's rights and responsibilities regarding the personal care of the child and for decisions regarding health care, education, and religious training.
  • A practical parenting time schedule for the child, including school vacations and holidays.
  • A procedure for exchanging the child, including a location and who will be responsible for transportation.
  • A procedure by which proposed changes, disputes, and alleged breaches may be mediated or resolved.
  • A procedure for periodic review of the plan.
  • A procedure for communication with each other regarding the child, including methods and frequency.

At the Law Office of Eric Cahan, we strive to help you resolve whatever family law issue you may be having, including modifications of parenting time and decision-making. Let Eric Cahan put the full weight of his over forty years of trial and family law experience behind you to effectively resolve your custody or parenting time issue in a timely and satisfactory manner. Call today for your free consultation (520) 622-4997.