Protecting Your Relationship With Your Child

I am Arizona attorney Brad Reinhart, and I understand that child custody can be very contentious. There is nothing more important than your children. The Judge, who does not know you or your children, determines parenting time and decision-making based on a number of factors. Gender is not a factor the Judge considers. The Judge is looking at factors that show what is in the children's best interests. These include:

  • Relationship between the children and parents and extended family. This includes the relationship with grandparents, children from another relationship.
  • Child's adjustment to home, school and community. Children are
  • The child's wishes. This is only if the child is of suitable age. If the child is of suitable age, the Judge will appoint someone to speak with the child to get his or her views.
  • Mental and physical health of the parties and child. Judges can order psychological testing. Mental health issues can be so great that one parent is only allowed supervised parenting time.
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful, and continuing contact with the other parent. This is generally where issues are litigated. For instance, one parent may refuse to allow the other parent time claiming such as the child does not want to go or I do not trust the other parent. If a Judge does not believe the stated reason, this will way against the parent.
  • Whether a parent intentionally mislead the Judge. Obviously, Judges do not like when a parent is dishonest about an issue.
  • Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse.
  • Anything else the Judge believes is relevant.


Relocation refers to moving more than 100 miles or out of the state. Notice is required. Obviously where both parents exercise parenting time, one parent moving the child away will have enormous consequences on parenting time. Parents seeking to move a child away from another parent must show it is in the child's best interest.

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act ("UCCJEA")

The UCCJEA vests exclusive and continuing jurisdiction for parenting time and decision-making in the "home state" for the child. The home state is where the child was living for six months prior to the commandment of the proceedings. What this practically means is that one parent cannot just take a child from Arizona and start custody proceedings in another state. There are a number of issues with the UCCJEA which I will discuss with my client to determine the best way to proceed in the case.


If the parties were married at the time of the birth of the child, both parents are presumed to be the parents. If the parties were not married, paternity must be established. At the time the child is born, the parties can sign an affidavit at the hospital but that rarely occurs. Many people think having the child's name on the birth certificate gives Father's the rights. That is not accurate. When an Establishment of Paternity is filed and served, the other parent is restricted in removing the child from the jurisdiction. In some cases, where a parent leaves with the child prior to being served with a petition to establish paternity, the UCCJEA will still require the case be heard here. Judges often require the children returned to Arizona.

Domestic Violence can Child Abuse

Domestic violence and child abuse are taken very serious in family cases. As stated, the Judge will consider whether there has been domestic violence when deciding parenting time and decision-making. If there is substantial domestic violence or child abuse, parents can be restricted to supervised parenting time.

Drug or Alcohol Issues

Drugs and alcohol is another issue Judges take very seriously. Judges will consider a drug or alcohol conviction in the past year when deciding parenting time and decision-making. When one parent makes a false allegation of drug or alcohol abuse, it becomes very important to have independent proof there is not an issue.

Call my Tempe office at 602-814-0531 to set up an appointment with me. You can also contact me online.