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Arizona Child Custody Laws

State child custody laws are fairly similar from one state to the next, and most states have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA). It has been adopted in Arizona as well. The idea behind the UCCA is to minimize interstate child custody conflicts. Arizona child custody laws, therefore, allow parents and guardians the option of joint custody and recognize grandparent visitation rights.

This article discusses child custody laws in the state of Arizona.

Child Custody in Arizona

There are two types of custody recognized by Arizona courts: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right of a parent or guardian to make major life decisions, such as schooling and religious upbringing. Physical custody refers to the decision of which parent or guardian the child lives with. It is possible for either one (sole custody) or both (joint custody) parents to have legal and/or physical custody.

Under a joint legal custody arrangement, both parents are free to make major life decisions for the child. In a sole physical custody arrangement, the child lives with one parent full-time, even if the non-custodial parent has visitation rights or shares in the legal custody arrangement.

A parenting plan is another way parents may handle child-rearing decisions. A parenting plan generally recognizes the following:

  • The needs of children change and grow as they mature
  • Both parents are to have access to a child's official records
  • The continuity of the parent-child relationship typically is in the child's best interest
  • Custodial parents make daily decisions (including emergencies) while the child is in their custody

Parenting plans also lay out how children will spend birthdays and other holidays, transportation arrangements, when supervision is required, and other considerations.

An Overview of Arizona Child Custody Laws

Learn more about Arizona's child custody laws in the chart below. See FindLaw's extensive Child Custody section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section

§ 25-401 et seq. of the Arizona Revised Statutes

Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted


Joint Custody an Option?

Yes, § 25-403

Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, § 25-409

Child's Own Wishes Considered?


Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Arizona Child Custody Laws: Related Resources

Get Legal Help with Child Custody in Arizona

If you and your spouse are getting divorced or never even tied the knot in the first place, you might not agree with the terms of your child custody arrangement. There are many factors to consider in these determinations, but the court's primary concern will be the child's best interests. One of the best ways to get a handle on the process of deciding child custody is to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney in the state of Arizona.

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  • Custody & child visitation cases are emotional, and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
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