Is there any such thing as Fifty Fifty Child Custody in Arizona? Child custody is a serious issue between parents who are divorcing.  There are two aspects of custody in Arizona: legal decision-making and parenting time.  It is essential that parents set up a parenting arrangement that provides a stable and loving environment for their children as the family transitions into new territory. In Arizona, both parents are generally allowed to have parenting time with their children. Both parents may share legal decision-making and the children will either  live primarily with one parent or may split time equally between two households. These arrangements must be discussed and put into the parenting plan, which then becomes part of the divorce order.

Parenting Time

Parenting time is the schedule of the child’s residence between the two parents’ households.  It used to be known as visitation.  Having a set schedule is critical to avoid conflict between the parents as to when each can expect to spend time with their children. There are many ways to divide time between parents.  Some plans call for a “primary residential parent” with whom the child will reside most of the time and some plans will call for equal parenting time.  With increasing frequency in Arizona, equal parenting time is becoming the “norm.”

Legal Decision-Making

Legal decision-making was formerly called legal custody.  It is the designation of who has the right to make decisions for the Children in the areas of education, religion, and non-emergency health care. The court may order either joint or sole legal decision-making for parents. The most common is joint legal decision-making, which provides for both parents to be able to make important decisions regarding the children.

Child Support

Both of a child’s parents are expected to contribute to the child’s support. Arizona uses what is called an “income shares model” for child support. In general, the non-primary residential parent provides child support as a contribution towards the needs of the child. Even in an equal time arrangement, one parent could end up owing the other child support because of the “income shares” approach Arizona takes. The court orders child support payments as part of the divorce decree.

Exceptions to Parenting Time

While most parents are capable of providing care and nurturing to their children, there are some situations where parenting time will be limited or denied. In cases where a parent has abused drugs, has been abusive or violent, or does not have the skills necessary to care for the child, supervised parenting time may be appropriate. Parenting time may be denied to a parent who has previously abused the child or to those who are considered to be a danger to the child’s health or well-being.

Parenting is one of the major settlement issues as part of the dissolution of marriage. If you are going through a divorce, it is advisable to seek legal guidance from a qualified family law attorney.

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 Fifty Fifty Child Custody in Arizona, 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.