What is parent time sharing?

Arizona, like many other states, no longer uses the term “custody” in their divorce laws.  Arizona has also dispensed with the term “visitation” except when referring to the time spent between a Child and a non-parent (such as a grandparent). Children are expected to spend time with both parents, unless there is some serious reason they should not. Time spent together with children is called parenting time. Parenting time is determined as part of the parenting plan and is included in the divorce decree. Parents often have many questions regarding how parenting time will occur after the divorce. One question is, what is parenting time sharing? Consult with your divorce attorney for specific situations and to get answers to your questions.

Child’s Residence

There is a significant trend towards both parents being  generally allowed equal time-sharing with their children.  However, there are still situations where it is appropriate for a child to live most of the time with one parent. In the past, this parent was called the primary caregiver. It is now generally referred to as the “primary residential parent.”

Determining Support

Both parents are responsible for providing financially for their children. That includes regular care expenses such as food and clothing. Parents must also provide health insurance, daycare, and other needs of the child. Child support is calculated through the use of the child support guidelines worksheet. Many factors go into a child support order. These include such things as how much time is spent with each parent and the parents’ incomes, among other items. In most, but not all, situations the parent with whom the child spends the lesser amount of time will pay support to the other.

Parenting Plan

Parents need to put time and consideration into making a parenting plan that works. The plan becomes part of the divorce decree, and may only be changed through a modification, whether undertaken by agreement or through a formal litigation process.  Many parents informally modify their parenting plan, and they may do so, but any major changes should be done through the court, even by stipulation. Take time to put together a plan that is as detailed as possible. Include how children will spend time off from school, holidays, and vacations. This will give both parents meaningful time with their child and will make it easier for families to adjust more easily to their new way of life.

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 Parenting Time Sharing, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, 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.