There are two types of legal decision-making orders. Temporary or permanent. The majority of state courts, including Arizona, make custody decisions on what is perceived to be the best interest of the children. Arizona’s best interest statute is found at A.R.S. § 25-403 and lists the factors the Court has to consider. Not all will be applicable in all situations, though.

The judge in a particular case will consider the 25-403 factors such as the child’s connection to the local community and their school, the child’s relationship with the parents and siblings, and whether a parent is likely to try to interfere with the other parent’s relationship with the child. Temporary orders are generally entered “without prejudice,” which means they can be changed in the final orders. Sometimes, though temporary orders may become the final orders.

What Separates Temporary from Permanent?

The primary distinctions between temporary and permanent orders, however, are the duration and a parent’s ability to modify the order. In Arizona, married parents are presumed to be equal custodians of children unless a court order dictates otherwise.  Courts use temporary orders in order to make sure the the parents’ rights and access to parenting time are controlled until more permanent orders have been issued. Temporary orders usually factor in contact between the children and both of their parents as well as a clear schedule. The temporary orders period can be a test of the schedule to see how it works, if it works, and what could be done better in a final order.

What About Violations of Existing Orders?

In the event that one parent violates the requirements associated with a temporary or permanent order, the other parent has the ability to file a petition with the court for enforcement. Some judges prefer not to change temporary orders because they are, by their very nature, possibly going to change later.  However, especially if there is an emergency situation, it may be necessary to seek a modification of even a temporary order.  No matter which parent you are in a temporary orderssituation, working with an Arizona family lawyer can be critical for protecting your rights and ensuring that you get time with your children.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Legal Decision-Making Orders, Temporary or Permanent?, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.