Co-parent with confidence

Use our Free Co-parenting App

Children are happier when co-parents get along

Co-parenting in Arizona: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Understanding Custody

Custody arrangements in Arizona are defined in ARS 25-403, which sets out three different forms of custody that parents may choose from. Joint legal custody grants both parents decision-making authority in the child’s upbringing, while joint physical custody dictates that the child lives with each parent certain periods of time. The third form, sole legal and physical custody, is reserved for cases where one parent is clearly not fit for custody. These arrangements must be mutually agreed upon and ordered by a court in a court document known as an “Order of Child Custody.” In addition, ARS 25-403 lays out some useful provisions to remember when making a custody agreement. These include provisions allowing non-parent custody, allowing the child to participate in the custody decision, allowing the parents to designate business agreements, and requiring the parents to submit a parenting plan.


Child Support Laws

Child support is mandated by the Arizona Department of Economic Security, who design calculations and guidelines on their website. According to ARV 25-320, child support payments are generally expected when a child under the age of 18 lives at least 50% of the time with one parent. Generally, the amount is based on several factors such as the number of children and adjusted gross income of both parents. If a case requires additional legal review, another statute, ARS 25-327, outlines some procedures for obtaining a court-mandated judgement on the issue.


Parental Rights and Decision-Making Responsibilities

Arizona family law understands the importance of parental rights when it comes to co-parenting. In many cases, the state does not entertain arguments about which parent has the most influence over decisions for their child, as Arizona Revised Statute 25-403 states that parents must have an “equal opportunity” to share in the decision-making process. This provision allows parents to think together and build an agreement that suits their needs. In cases of sole legal and physical custody, Arizona Revised Statute 25-403 also sets out the authority of the non-custodial parent. This allows the non-custodial parent to remain involved in their child’s upbringing and maintain their parental rights, as long as they remain in contact with the custodial parent. The state encourages good communication between parents, as well as employing reasonable reasoning when it comes to making decisions.


Co-Parenting Expenses

When parents decide to pursue co-parenting, there are several expenses that are typically associated with the process. This can include medical costs, educational and activity expenses, as well as any additional costs for therapy, counseling or transportation. Parents should consult their local jurisdiction on the laws and procedures for splitting expenses when it comes to co-parenting. Many parents also opt to open joint bank accounts and track expenses through this medium. Arizona Revised Statute 25-412 states that the accounts should be used to track and manage expenses associated with the child's care. This allows both parents to have access to the accounts and be financially responsible for their part of expenses. When possible, parents will also have a say in other decisions such as educational opportunities, religious upbringing and medical treatments.


Parenting Plans

Parenting plans, as defined in Arizona Revised Statute 25-414, are contractual documents which provide details on important child-rearing decisions. They are designed to protect both parents’ rights and focus on the needs of the child. Parenting plans must be agreed upon and reviewed by a professional advocate and can include provisions such as a visitation schedule, holiday access, and communication rules. The document must be updated periodically as the child’s needs and circumstances change.


Visitation Rights

Visitation rights, according to Arizona Revised Statute 25-412, allow both parents access to the child. Typically, there is a contact schedule for both parents depending on their individual living arrangements. Generally, parents are expected to use this as a guideline for setting contact schedules. In cases where parents reside in separate jurisdictions, such as different counties, Arizona Revised Statute 25-346 allows parents to create a “visitation plan,” which permits the child to travel between the states. This is designed to protect the child’s well-being while allowing each parent equal access.



In cases where parents require an impartial third party to help resolve conflicts, mediation may be utilized as a solution. According to Arizona Revised Statute 25-413, mediation is an intervention carried out by a neutral specialist in co-parenting relationships. Through talks and discussions, the mediator will help the parents reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Mediation can be helpful in a wide variety of scenarios, from those involving abusive behaviors to custodial disputes. Mediators will also introduce concepts such as shared parenting, modification of child support obligation, and relocation requests. It is important to utilize a reputable mediator with experience in similar cases, as this will provide parents with dependable guidance and helpful suggestions. Mediators are also trained professionals and have a good grasp of Arizona co-parenting law.



Co-parenting in Arizona is a tricky process to approach and can often elicit confusing rulings. As such, parents should familiarize themselves with relevant statutes and consult with a lawyer when necessary. This blog post has explored areas such as custody, child support, expenses, parental rights, parenting plans, visitation rights, and mediation in order to provide parents a comprehensive understanding of Arizona co-parenting law.


Fact Check and Resources

In crafting this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:




Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada


Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

Thousands of co-parents worldwide have successfully managed custody schedules, shared children's expenses, and communication with Cent.

Get Started Today