Living in Arizona as an unwed mother may cause you to think you automatically have sole custody over your child. However, the state does not generally favor one parent over the other.

The court system puts the best interests of your child when determining which parent to grant legal and physical custody.

Best interests of your child

The Arizona State Legislature defines the best interests of your child by analyzing a variety of factors. The court wants to ensure that both the emotional and physical well-being of your child is taken into account. Your child has a relationship with both you and their other parent along with any other siblings and extended family, such as grandparents.

If you want primary physical custody, you should show the court your willingness to allow your child to contact the other parent, barring reasonable protective measures. The court assesses the child’s age and the health of all parties involved, both physically and mentally. Children of a certain age may have a say in the proceedings.

Child custody expectations for parents

Most parents should anticipate sharing parenting time. If you want to contest the parenting time for your child’s other parent, the court does take that into consideration. Their decision still rests on the best interests of your child. Factors that can decrease or remove parenting time focus on the parent’s history such as domestic violence, child abuse or false reporting to the court.

Mothers do not have more favor in the eyes of the court than fathers.