The Arizona State Court makes decisions in regards to custody based entirely on what would be in the best interests of the child or children. The state will award either individual or joint custody, depending on which would serve the child’s interests best. When the court awards joint custody, both parents will need to be in agreement and a written parenting plan needs to be in place to assure that there are no misunderstandings on either end regarding where the child should be at any given time.
When making decisions regarding custody, the court will take the desires of the parents in mind, but also look at what the children want too, assuming they are of age to make such a decision. Other factors used in making such a decision include: who has been the primary caregiver in the past, mental and physical health of either parent, any drug or criminal convictions that may exist and which parent would be most likely to preserve meaningful contact between the child and the other parent.