What is Parenting Time, and How is it Determined?

In Arizona, what was once historically known as “Physical Custody” of children is now referred to as “Parenting Time.” Parenting time refers to the time during which the parent is able to physically be with his/her children. Like all issues related to children, it is the best interests of the child that guide the court’s determination. Typically, unless the parties agree to otherwise and assuming both are fit and able, the court will award a parenting time schedule that divides time between the parents approximately equally. However, if one’s parenting ability is compromised by substance abuse or health issues, or if a parent has been a perpetrator of domestic violence, a judge is unlikely to award that parent significant time with the children, opting instead to grant limited, more occasional access. In the most extreme cases, a court can order a parent have only parenting time supervised by a third party whose role is to protect the children. Each case is unique, and parenting time will depend on a wide range of factors.