Oliver Ross: Okay. Sole custody and joint custody, first of all, have nothing to do with how divorcing parents spend time with their children. It’s been a common misconception that, somehow, sole custody meant that one parent would have all the time with the children and the other parent wouldn’t have any. Sole. The word ‘custody’, by the way, has been taken out of the law, taken out of the statutes concerning children in divorce, here in Arizona as of January 1, of this year, 2013. Because it always meant, not how much time parents would spend with children, it always meant who would make major life decisions. So, if one parent were to have sole legal custody, which is now called ‘sole legal decisionmaking’,
that parent would make major life decisions for the children, independently of the other parent. So, what are some examples of major life decisions? Around education, what schools do they go to’ public school, private school, charter school? Around health; what s do they see, what medicines do they take? Around religion; what religion or faith are they raised in? Those are prime examples of major life decisions for children. Here in Arizona, there is a presumption of joint legal decisionmaking, which used to be called ‘joint legal custody’ such that the courts unless something egregious was going on, like alcohol, drugs, domestic violence
the courts will presume and grant joint legal decisionmaking, wherein the parents share in the making of the major life decisions for their children.