Absent Parent Rights in Arizona

Absent Parent Rights in Arizona

Here’s a question we get asked about absent parent rights in Arizona:

Can my son’s Father get Custody (Legal Decision) Rights in Arizona after being out of the child’s life for an extended period of time?

Yes, most of the time, unless the Father has had his parental rights severed. Generally the Family Court will allow any parent to get established into a child’s life if it is in the child’s best interest. If the amount of time has been so long that there’s no relationship between the absent parent and child the custodial parent can request:

  1. Family reunification therapy
  1. Counseling
  1. Other types of therapy

These requests can be made before the absent parent is allowed any custodial rights.

The Court will generally look to implement a gradual progression of the absent parent back into the child’s life. This period can take months or even years depending on the circumstances. The Court will likely monitor the case to make sure the absent parent is getting involved and has sincere intentions.

The Court may request the facts and circumstances of the absence so they can decide what type of therapy is needed, and whether or not to allow the absent parent legal decision making rights:

  1. The fitness of the parent
  1. The reason for being absent
  1. The length of time the parent was absent
  1. Is there a history of substance abuse?
  1. Is there a history or mental disease?
  1. Other issues

It goes without saying that if the absent parent shows up, high on drugs, homeless, and without any resources to care for the child the absent parent is not going to be successful in Court.

Military service members are protected from being declared absent parents because of deployment by A.R.S. 25-411. If the parent has just returned from deployment where they’ve been gone for more than a year and were not able to have phone contact on a regular basis because of their service, the Court, in most cases, will do everything it can to reestablish the bond between parent and child.

Not only is reestablishing a good relationship beneficial to the child, recent research suggests that absent parents are almost three times likelier to die earlier than parents that are actively engaged with their children:

http://www.dnaindia.com/health/report-absent-parents-almost-3-times-likelier-to-die-early-2051856

Contact a Child Custody Attorney at Enholm Law today at (602) 889-6273 for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your absent parent case in Arizona.