Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Can A Father Get Full Custody?


In 2013, new statutes and child custody laws were introduced by the Arizona Legislature. From January 1 of that year, some popular terms (still frequently used) were changed. In our article, there are still references to the more popularly used terms. For example, the terms, “child custody,” “sole custody”, and “joint custody” became “legal decision making”, “sole legal decision making” and “joint legal decision making.” This new statute also changed “child visitation” to “parenting time.”

This means parents now get “sole legal decision making” with “parenting time” rights. or they may get “joint legal decision making” and “parenting time.” “Sole legal decision making” may be given by a court to one parent – so that parent, for example, can be responsible for making major decisions regarding the medical care of the child – at the same time, the other parent has “sole legal decision making” giving them authority to make educational decisions for the child or children.

How Do I Find a Father’s Rights Attorney Near Me?

If you are in the Scottsdale area, our Father’s Rights Attorneys can help! Our Father’s Rights lawyers will address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

Can A Father Get Full Custody In Arizona?

Generally speaking, most courts will prefer that both parents share child custody (legal decision making). However, there are some situations where a court might grant full custody to the father. But, you should be prepared for a child custody battle if the mother is also seeking sole legal decision making.

It is understandable to procrastinate from filing because of concerns with child custody. Custody laws in Arizona are applied by one judge, not a jury, who will make a determination if joint custody or sole custody will be awarded to the parents of the child or children. The initial step in this process is accepting that you are filing for divorce or responding to a petition for a dissolution of marriage is to examine the various scenarios that can arise with child custody and developing an understanding of child custody laws in Arizona. From that point, you can then make a determination as to how you may be able to win full custody of your child or children and know how you can prepare for the upcoming child custody case.

Getting Full Custody In Arizona

Under child custody laws in Arizona, sole custody is now known as “sole legal decision making” – meaning one person has the sole legal custody of the children or child. This specific individual has the responsibility for making major decisions regarding the care of the child or children for medical care, academics, religion and personal care (e.g. tattoos, piercings).

Arizona child custody laws permit both parents having input into issues that arise but the designated parent (by the court) is the “sole legal decision maker” and makes the final decision if both parents cannot come to an agreement. Child support and legal decision making are totally unrelated under Arizona law. Obtaining sole custody of the child or children does not alter the obligation of child support – that is decided (in part) by the amount of time you spend with your child or children. What are the chances of a Father Getting Full Custody?

Joint Custody vs Sole Custody In Arizona

Under Arizona law, there is no legal presumption favoring one parent or one gender. This means the court often decides both parents should make decisions 50%/50%.  In these cases, “Joint Legal Decision Making” means both parents share the important decision-making for the child or children on an equal footing. In turn, most courts will view a 50%/50% “Equal Parenting Time” arrangement the most common solution for most divorces.  The physical custody (including control of the child or children) are equally distributed between the parents holding joint physical parenting time or on some other agreed schedule of parenting that best serves the interests of the child or children.

It is understandable for people to be concerned about the outcome of the case when they are in the middle of the divorce process. Obviously, one of the most significant disputed issues is child custody. However, once you understand the kinds of custody the court may consider- it is vitally important to recall the law has no preference to a single form of custody over another. Neither does the court prefer one parent ahead of the other because of the gender of the parents.

What You Need to Prove to Get Sole Custody

Sole legal decision making, or sole legal custody, sometimes known as full custody will be considered when it is in the best interests of the child or children in Arizona. You can file for sole custody when you think joint custody is not appropriate for your situation. If sole custody is granted by the court, it would mean you have the authority to make all post-decree decisions regarding educational, religious and medical issues for the child or children concerned in the divorce.

Here are some reasons the court may grant sole custody:

  • History of child abuse
  • History of alcohol or drug abuse
  • History of domestic violence
  • History of and current mental health problems.
  • Criminal history.

When your spouse has any or all of those issues, you may want to think about a request for the sole custody of your child or children. Taking into account the best interests of your child or children, the court will then make a determination to decide whether to award sole custody. Read more about how to get custody of a child in Arizona.


  1. How to Get Sole Custody in Arizona | Hildebrand Law, PC.” Scottsdale Arizona Family Law & Divorce Attorneys, www.hildebrandlaw.com/child-custody-laws-in-arizona-2/how-to-get-sole-custody-in-arizona.aspx.
  2. Rau, Alia Beard. “New Child Custody Law Begins Jan. 1.” Azcentral.com, 25 Dec. 2012, archive.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20121220new-chidl-custody-law-january.html.

Speak with Our Father’s Rights Attorneys In Scottsdale

Our Father’s Rightschild custody, and guardianship attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

We are experienced family law attorneys and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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