Reasons a Court Would Grant Sole Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time

Custody used to be the legal term that refers to the right of one or more parents to make decisions about the care, welfare, and health of the child. It is now called “legal decision-making” authority. In Arizona, the law recognizes the importance of each parent having the authority to not only make decisions for their child but see them equally or as near equally as possible. Typically, the courts prefer to see an equal distribution of parenting time and management, but when parents cannot agree to a schedule, the court will make decisions with respect to these issues. Sole custody, or sole legal decision making and parenting time, is one that is rarely granted in today’s court system, but it is possible to obtain.

If you feel that your case qualifies for sole custody, it is important that you speak with an attorney to explore your options. Most likely, you will have to present the facts to a judge in court, and the judge will then determine if sole legal decision making for one parent is what is in the child’s best interest.

Requirements for Sole Legal Decision Making and Parenting Time

Realize that the court will never disallow a parent to see their child unless they are a severe threat to the child’s health and safety. However, if the courts do not allow standard parenting time for one parent, they may still allow parenting time through supervised and monitored visits.

Per ARS 25-403(A), the court determines custody based on the best interests of the child. Therefore, a judge would only consider a sole custody order when the situation includes:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Criminal history
  • Child abuse
  • Issues of significant domestic violence
  • Severe mental health conditions

The courts do grant sole legal custody when it is considered appropriate. If you believe that joint custody would harm your child physically, emotionally, or mentally, you may petition the court for sole custody.

If you are granted sole legal decision-making authority, then you have sole discretion to determine your child’s medical, education, religious, and other decisions that impact your child’s life.

To successfully receive sole legal decision-making authority, you should consider  the help of an attorney. The courts will require extensive evidence proving that a joint arrangement is not in the best interest of the child. Speak with a lawyer from Udall Shumway, PLC to see if your situation might qualify for sole custody.

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 Sole Legal Decision Making and Parenting Time, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact 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