What determines who has custody of a child

TLDR: factors such as living situations, finances, mental health, and emotional connections play a role in custody battles. The entire purpose of a custody battle is to ensure children live in a safe environment after divorce. You’ll have to prove your ability to care for all of your child’s needs if you plan on becoming the custodial parent.

What determines who has custody of a child

Marital problems are never a pleasant thing for any parties involved. Things become even trickier when children are a part of the picture. While you two work out your problems, your child or children still need to be fed, clothed, and protected. Coming to an agreement on these various factors is difficult for most couples experiencing a divorce. In these situations, a court must step in.

The battle in what determines who has custody of a child

Battling for custody of your child is no easy task. Throughout the process, you’ll be forced to prove your capabilities as a parent. Failing to do so can result in you losing total custody of your child. No one wants that to happen, so it’s crucial to educate yourself about what determines the final decision in a custody case.

Whether you’re going through a custody battle or will be soon, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find tons of information about what determines who has custody of a child during a legal battle over custody.

What determines who has custody of a child

For starters, the prominent factor judges use to determine which parent gains custody is finance related. Without enough monetary income, you can’t support a child. So, it’s essential to show proof that you can support your child. Another critical yet controversial factor is the parent-child bond.

This refers to how strong of a relationship the child has with one or both parents. Your child’s well-being is the most important thing when going through a divorce. By allowing children to stay with the parent, they feel comfortable with, healthy development is assured.

The parent’s mental health is also vital. Children who live in chaotic environments tend to develop bad emotional habits. By allowing children to go with the parent most mentally equipped to handle them, their odds of success later in life are much higher.

Finances are also significant; children need a balance of shelter, food, clothing, and other accommodations. It would be unwise for a judge to grant sole custody to a parent unable to financially support the child.

Making your custody battle go as smoothly as possible

Custody battles can be very nasty in terms of the bickering back and forth between both parents. To increase your odds of winning as much as possible, you need to have all your information organized. Be prepared to present financial statements, mortgage/rent documents, criminal records, and more.

All of this will be used to make the final decision on which parent gains custodial custody.

People Also Ask

Q: What factors influence child custody?
A: Finances, mental health, living conditions, and children’s well-being are all factors that impact custody decisions. The judge presiding over your case will use a combination of these factors to make their final ruling.

Q: What should you not do during the custody battle?
A: Some of the things you should avoid getting into when going through a custody dispute include: verbal arguments, physical altercations, arrests, and neglected child support payments.

Q: Who is most likely to get custody of a child?
A: The fittest parent will receive custody of the child. Previously, children under the age of five were given over to their mothers. Things have changed now.

Understanding what determines who has custody of a child

Use all of the information in this article to make your custody battle as favorable to your position as possible. Take heed to all the warnings and tips we’ve given you. As long as you do so, you’ll be able to present a solid case to the judge.

For more information on getting legal defense in your case, contact Randle Palmer & Associates today.

How to get legal guardianship of a child?

How to get legal guardianship of a child?

How to get legal guardianship of a child?

Becoming the child’s guardian is a very daunting and time-consuming task; before you become the guardian of a child, you need to become informed about the entire process. To become the child’s guardian, you first need to file a petition; then, you need to get a letter of consent from the child’s parents. Some judges will want to conduct interviews at your home in addition to checking your criminal background before granting you guardianship rights. To make sure you handle the entire guardianship process correctly, you should consider consulting a family law attorney to help you.

How to get legal guardianship of a child?

If you’re currently going through a messy divorce battle with your spouse, chances are you will be trying to obtain legal guardianship of your child once all of the hearings and court appearances are done. Custody battles can be very tricky and often involve several aspects that all play a significant role in helping the presiding judge decide which parent will receive superior guardianship privileges.

However, in instances where the child’s well-being is in apparent jeopardy by one parent, your odds of gaining sole guardianship over your child are very high. You need to get a few essential documents in order before going into the courtroom to face the judge to be sure that you have the highest odds of winning the case.

For those out there who have been trying to gain legal guardianship over their child, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’re going to give you a detailed breakdown of all the crucial details you need to know about approaching your upcoming custody battle.

Gaining legal guardianship over your child

Before you can gain guardianship over any child, you first must sign a petition that clearly outlines your interests and reasoning behind wanting to become a guardian. A letter of consent from the child’s parents will also be required before you are granted full guardianship rights over the child in question.

After the petition is filed, the court will proceed to arrange interviews with you, and in some instances, they will also want to interview the child and their parents. In most cases, the courts will also want to conduct a home visit, criminal background check, and inspection for the person requesting guardianship to ensure they are suitable for parental oversight.


If you’re a parent who wants to give up guardianship of your child, that is very possible; however, you must follow a very particular process in order to do so. When choosing a guardian for your child, you need to make sure that they meet the following requirements:

  • Able to physically fulfill their responsibility
  • Has to be of legal adult age
  • Must be able to spend adequate time with the child
  • Must be financially stable enough to care for your child

As long as the person meets all of these requirements, you will be able to appoint them as the guardian of your child. It would help if you kept in mind, there are instances in where the legal parents of a child will reject your request for guardianship.

In this event, guardianship will only be granted if the situation meets the following criteria:

  1. The parents have had their parental right terminated, or they have abandoned their child
  2. A judge finds it in the best interest of the child to remove them from the parent’s custody
  3. The current parents give consent

Being a child’s legal guardian is no easy task. If you plan on claiming sole guardianship of a child, you need to be ready to spend a lot of time with them and prepare yourself for the financial obligation that becoming a guardian entails.

After you win the case

After you’ve filed the petition, write the letter of consent, and complete all of the requirements outlined by the judge, you will be able to achieve a favorable outcome in your guardianship case. If you have any questions about the process of obtaining guardianship over a child, don’t be afraid to ask questions as it will help make the entire process much easier.

Make sure you find the correct probate court in the county in which the child lives or where any prior child custody orders have been filed. As long as you’ve made sure that becoming a guardian is something you are ready for, you can go through the entire process quickly.

It’s always advised that you speak with a family law attorney before getting into any guardianship hearings just so you can make sure all of your T’s are crossed and I’s dotted.

People Also Ask

Q: Can one parent give guardianship to another person?

A: Yes, if you feel as if you cannot meet the basic living demands of your child, you can go to the court and file a guardianship transfer order. Keep in mind, guardianship over a child only lasts until the child reaches the legal age.

Q: Can I file for guardianship without a lawyer?

A: In most cases, you do not need to contact a lawyer in order to ask a judge to be appointed the guardian of a child. You can obtain all of the necessary paperwork to file for guardianship from your local courthouse.

Q: How much money do you get for guardianship?

A: As of 2014, the average yearly salary for a court-appointed guardian was about $30,000. The requirements to become a point appointed guardian to differ between districts and states; this is something you want to keep in mind before applying to become one.


All of this information can be used to help you ensure that you get a favorable motion granted in your efforts to gain guardianship over a child. Before starting the process, you need to ask yourself these two simple questions: “Am I really ready to become a child’s guardian?” “Am I financially able to support a child?” Once you answer these questions, you will have a clear idea of whether guardianship is right for you or not.

If you need further advice on how to get legal guardianship of a child, please contact us

You may find this article  to seek help on Short-Term Temporary Guardianship helpful

What is default judgment in a child custody case mean?

What is default judgment in a child custody case mean?

What is default judgment in a child custody case mean?

A default judgment in a child custody case is a decision made by a judge in favor of one party due to the inaction of the opposing party. In a child custody battle, if a defendant fails to respond to the inquires of the court within enough time, a default judgment can be granted in favor of the plaintiff.
Child custody cases are some of the most challenging cases for many judges around the country to handle. This is due primarily to the very personal nature and often hostile courtroom environments that these types of cases produce. If you’re someone going through a child custody battle, it’s essential to know all of your case’s possible outcomes so that you can prepare yourself to gain the upper hand in the judge’s eyes.

A default court judgment is basically the final option for child custody cases in which one party has not responded to a court inquiry in enough time ad outlined by the appointed deadline. Another settlement option that you’ll have the ability to accept is an agreement; an agreement means that both parties have concluded on a final means of resolution for a case.

Depending on the relationship between the two parties involved in a child custody case, coming to an agreement or settlement in which both parties are satisfied can be nearly impossible. In this instance, a default judgment is likely to happen.
To help you better understand exactly what a default judgment is and how to avoid one if you’re the defendant in a child custody case, we’re going to provide you with a detailed breakdown below.

What does it mean to get a default judgment in a child custody case?

After the defendant and plaintiff’s initial court appearance in a child custody case, the defendant will have 21 days to respond to the initial court inquiry with either a complaint or summons. If a defendant in a child custody case fails to take either action within 21 days, the plaintiff has the ability to request a default ruling.

In the event that the judge grants a plaintiff’s default ruling request, the plaintiff will be required to appear at a short court hearing to get the final custody order approved. Once approved, the plaintiff will receive a custody decree which finalizes the battle between both parties.
As a plaintiff in a child custody case, a default ruling is one of the best decisions you can ask for because it means that the defendant essentially didn’t put up a fight.

How to set yourself up for the best possible outcome in your child custody case

If you’re the defendant in a child custody case and want to avoid a default judgment at all costs, you need to make sure that you respond to any court inquiries which may come your way after the initial hearing. As long as you submit some sort of response within the allotted amount of time, you will be able to dispute any claims the plaintiff throws against you.
If you’re confused about any of the details in your child custody case, mainly, you should contact a reliable family law attorney to help you.

People Also Ask

Q: What is a motion of default judgment?
A: A default judgment is any judgment made in favor of one party due to a failure to act on behalf of another party. You will often see default judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff when a defendant fails to respond to a summons or other court order.

Q: What happens after a motion for default is filed?
A: The defendant will be given the ability to set aside the default judgment, and the judge must honor it. In this case, a new hearing will be scheduled and the court clerk will mail both parties a notice of the new hearing date.

Q: What happens if I don’t pay my judgment?
A: If a party fails to pay their judgment, the amount of the initial judgment amount will increase on a daily basis. The amount of interest a party pays on a judgment they have not fulfilled will increase by 10% each year.


Now that you know precisely what a default judgment is, use it to prepare better your case against the judge on your first child custody hearing. Ask yourself what some of the most prominent points you have to make against the other party to increase your odds of winning your child custody battle are.

Absent Parents

Absent Parents

Absent Parents.

Sadly, many single parents or other family members are raising children without the help of one or both biological parents. Often a non-biological parent is filling the role of an absentee biological parent but cannot legally make decisions or choices because they aren’t the biological parent.

Despite the prolonged absence, complete lack of involvement, or zero financial help, those absentee parents still have rights to the child, and the only way to fix that is through court-ordered severance of parental rights.

Absent Parents

Many people are scared or unaware of how to proceed with cutting off the legal rights of an absent parent. Sometimes the fear of “stirring the pot” or “fanning the flames” keeps them from taking action. Other times the worry is that the child support obligations or arrears will be wiped away if rights are severed.


  • Absent parent: If a parent has been absent for 6 months or more, the law allows the other, more responsible parent, to petition to terminate parental rights.
  • Not just parents can terminate: in fact, anyone with an interest in the well-being of a child can attempt to terminate one or both parents’ rights.
  • Step-parent: If there is a step-parent who has been there for the child, acting as the parent in every way and wants to adopt, your case is even stronger. How the child views the stepparent is very important and the Court will take that into consideration. 
  • Grandparents: If a grandparent or another (non-step-parent individual) wants to adopt a child, both parent’s rights have to be terminated first.
  • Child support: many competent parents are hesitant to terminate another parent’s rights because there are child support orders in place. However, termination of parental rights does not necessarily absolve an absent parent of financial responsibility.  The Court can still order a terminated parent to pay child support.  Giving up parental rights specifically to avoid child support does not sit well with the Court.  So no one should be afraid to terminate another parent’s rights due to fear of financial loss.  

Is the other parent of your child largely absent? Are you raising a child without the help of one or both biological parents? Are you or someone else filling the “parent” role for a child who would be able to adopt them? Severing the parental rights of one or both biological parents is a complicated process, one that should be done with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. Call us for a free consultation today at (520) 327-1409.

How to gain legal rights to a child that isn’t yours biologically

How to gain legal rights to a child that isn’t yours biologically

How to gain legal rights to a child that isn’t yours biologically.

We often get inquired about how a person gains legal rights to a child that isn’t theirs biologically. The answers aren’t simple, nor are they straightforward. In this blog, we will do our best to provide you with a simple overview of a complex area of the law. This will help you learn how to gain legal rights to a child that isn’t yours biologically.

In Arizona, there are only really two ways to gain legal rights over a child that is not yours legally; Adoption and Guardianship. Each option has a very specific set of requirements and procedural steps that must be followed or the Court will not grant the requests. While many issues can be handled without an attorney, these are complex matters that are best handled with the assistance of someone experienced and knowledgeable about the processes. Here at RPB Law, we pride ourselves on our ability to accurately and honestly assess each case and its likely outcomes. NO ATTORNEY CAN GUARANTEE AN OUTCOME, and if you meet with someone who says they can, you should be very wary and see that as a red flag.

To be clear there are some additional methods within the Juvenile and Family Law arenas for achieving legal rights to a non-biological child, such as In Loco Parentis and/or Grandparents Rights, but those are very specific situations that will be covered in a future blog…

gain legal rights to a child that isn't yours biologically


Adoptions permanently turn over the rights and responsibilities of caring for a child over to someone or a married couple who are not the biological parents. Adoptions are not revocable. They are permanent. Anyone who wants to explore an adoption needs to know that any and all parental rights must be severed before an adoption can take place.

One of the most common adoption situations we see here is when the biological mother/father has remarried and they want to have the step-father/mother the legal father/mother of the child. In this situation, if the biological father/mother is in the picture at all, even if they aren’t the greatest, the adoption is unlikely to be successful unless the biological father/mother agrees to it. It should be additionally noted that even if the biological parent wants the adoption to happen, which includes their parental rights being terminated, the consent to adopt documents have very specific requirements, and have to be more than just a notarized statement.

Another Potential Adoption Situation

Another common situation we see regarding potential adoptions is when grandparents or extended family members who have taken guardianship of a minor may feel like a guardianship is not permanent enough and may want to take over the parenting role completely. Again, the parents’ rights need to be terminated before any potential adoption can take place.

We have recently experienced an influx in consultation s regarding same-sex couples wanting to adopt following the Supreme Court s’ recent recognition of same-sex marriages. This is an area of particular difficulty, primarily because adoption laws in Arizona have not quite caught up with the Supreme Court Decision validating same-sex marriages. This has resulted in some confusion in the Courts about who can adopt. As the statutes currently read, “Any adult resident of this state, whether married, unmarried or legally separated, is eligible to qualify to adopt children. Husbands and wives may jointly adopt children.” The same statute later goes on to say, “If all relevant factors are equal and the choice a married man and woman certified to adopt and a single adult certified to adopt, placement preference shall be with a married man and woman.” Clearly Arizona law remains incredibly discriminatory against same-sex couples when it comes to adoption.

Finalizing an adoption can be a difficult and complicated process that requires a lot of paperwork being assembled and anything missing can draw out the process unnecessarily. Hiring an attorney to handle it can be a huge help and will streamline and simplify things.


Guardianship is when a third party is allowed by the Court to be responsible for a child, i.e. obtain medical care, make educated decisions, provide a home, food, care, and support for the child. There are two types of Guardianship under Arizona law. The first, Under title 14, which governs probate, wills, trusts, etc. and the second under title 8, which covers Juvenile law and Department of Child Safety cases. Functionally these two types are very similar. The differences are more about how the Guardianship gets put into place and how it ends if it ends.

Title 8 Guardianship

Guardianships can be a great alternative to a dependency (DCS case) or termination of parental rights. The parents’ rights remain intact but basically are handed over to a third party until the parent can step back in. All the while the child is in a safe and stable home with someone willing and able to care for him/her. These guardianships are handled under title 8 because they arise out of a Juvenile Court case (dependency/DCS case) and are not necessarily voluntary, which means they don’t require the parents’ consent.

Ending a title 8 guardianship is not up to the parents, rather it is up to the Court that granted it. The involuntary nature of the Title 8 Guardianship means that a parent would have to go before a Juvenile Court Judge and prove that he/she is capable of being a fit and proper parent and that he/she had remedied the issues that caused DCS involvement.

Title 14 Guardianship

The more common type of Guardianship is a Title 14 guardianship, these are voluntary and most often are accomplished with parental consent. A common situation for these is when a military parent is deployed and need a 3rd party to exercise parental rights of a child while they are deployed. These guardianships are generally temporary in nature and serve to ensure a child has proper legal supervision during a parent’s absence or inability to provide appropriately for the child.

The voluntary nature of a title 14 guardianship means that it can be revoked at any time by the parent. The Title 14 Guardianship is perfect for military families where the only parent or both parents are being deployed and grandparents or aunts/uncles need to step in to take care of the kids until the parent(s) return. This could also be useful in situations where the parents are deported or imprisoned.

Setting either of these types of guardianship in motion is difficult, and the efforts involved are very complex. Walking someone through the procedures and requirements in depth is too boring to discuss here, which is why consulting an attorney who knows how to handle these cases is vital.

Contact us to help you understand how to gain legal rights to a child that isn’t yours biologically

If you or someone you know is facing a situation where guardianship is an appropriate option, contact us ASAP for a FREE CONSULTATION (520) 327-1409 or via [email protected].

Link to child custody

Number of “grand-families” increasing across America

Number of “grand-families” increasing across America

The number of “grand-families” increasing across America

A recent report from Generations United, a national group focusing on “intergenerational collaboration” between kids, young adults, and older adults reveals that the rate of children being raised – at least partially – by grandparents and other relatives is on the rise. These so-called “grand-families” are often formed by trauma affecting a nuclear family, such as divorce, incarceration of one or both biological parents, abandonment, or even death of one or both biological parents.

The grandparents in these situations step in to raise the children, sometimes to help the kids avoid going into the foster care system. The Generations United report emphasizes the very important role that grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. 

For example, children raised in grand-families (instead of in the foster system) have:

  • Better overall health
  • More stability
  • Increased sense of belonging
  • Fewer mental health issues relating to trauma (like anxiety, depression and behavioral problems)
  • A sense of permanency
  • Greater cultural identity

The number of "grand-families" increasing across America

Arizona grandparent rights when it comes to grand-families

Arizona state lawmakers recognize the important relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. That’s why there is a law on the books – Arizona Statutes Annotated 25-409 – that allows third parties (like grandparents or other relatives) to petition for physical custody or legal decision-making authority or visitation rights.

It isn’t an easy road to get custody or visitation since the law presumes that it is in the best interests of a child to remain with his or her parents. The onus is on the grandparent to prove otherwise.

If you, as a grandparent or other relative, want to pursue an action for custody or visitation rights, you’ll need to make a very persuasive argument as to why your request should be granted. The help of an experienced family law attorney can make a huge difference in your case.

We hope you have gained insight into The number of “grand-families” increasing across America.

Grandparent’s rights

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The information contained in the Randle Palmer & Associates website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as tax or legal advice on any subject matter. Randle Palmer & Associates provides legal advice and other services only to persons or entities with which it has established a formal attorney-client relationship.