Banner of page describing services provided by Chandler child custody lawyer Joan Bundy. Shows father and daughter hugging.

CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED
CHANDLER FAMILY LAWYER

Sidebar image on child custody page for Joan Bundy Law, a divorce and family law firm serving Phoenix, Arizona.
Click to learn more about Chandler divorce lawyer Joan Bundy

Chandler child custody lawyer

Serving families in Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, and Scottsdale, and the rest of the Phoenix Valley in child custody and other family law matters

If you have children, nothing is more important to you than their well-being. That’s why child custody, to most parents, is the number-one issue in a divorce or legal separation. Understanding the key legal issues and finding an experienced Chandler child custody lawyer to review your matter are crucial to a favorable outcome, both immediately and for the long term.

Types of child custody

Child custody is the determination of which parent(s) or guardian(s) are allowed to care for a child, and when they are allowed to do so. In legalese, the word custody is shorthand for “care, custody and control.” This means having legal authority over and responsibility for the welfare of a minor. In family court, child custody breaks down into legal and physical custody.

Legal custody, or what is now in Arizona called legal decision-making, means the ability to make important decisions relating to the child’s well-being. This includes which doctor(s) the child goes to; which school(s) the child attends; whether, and if so, where the child worships; who the child’s friends are; and with which relatives the child can spend time.

Physical custody, or what is now in Arizona called parenting time, is just as it sounds: the physical location of the child, or the parent or guardian with whom the child lives most of the time.

Sole versus joint child custody

Although many parents desire sole legal and/or physical custody, it is far less often awarded than joint custody. Arizona law gives preference to joint legal and physical custody. There are rare exceptions, such as where there has been:

  • “Significant” domestic violence in the household, usually involving a criminal conviction.
  • Extreme abuse or neglect of the child.
  • Incarceration or other unavailability of a parent.

In these situations, not only is sole custody commonly ordered, but also termination of parental rights frequently follows.

Even with joint custody, an exact 50/50 physical custody award is highly unusual. For practical reasons, if nothing else, the judge almost always designates a primary physical custodian. Typically, one parent is more available than the other one because he or she has lesser work demands, a more flexible schedule, or the ability to work from home. Many other factors may affect the court’s determination of the exact time division, including the geographical distance of the parents from one another and the ease of administration by courts, schools, medical providers, and other third parties.

Determining who will be the primary custodial parent

Factors that an Arizona court reviews in determining who should be awarded primary physical custodianship include:

  • The best interests of the child.
  • The child’s desires, if old enough to voice an opinion (usually at least seven years old).
  • Which parent is already the primary caretaker.
  • The child’s siblings and any other person living in the household or who otherwise may significantly affect the child’s best interests.
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community.
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  • Which parent is more likely to be cooperative and allow reasonable parenting time to be exercised by the other parent.

Legal decision-making in child custody matters

Joint legal custody is the standard in family court. When it is awarded, each parent must consult with the other one on all important issues relating to the children. But it can complicate legal decision-making if the parents are confrontational and cannot set aside their own feelings and biases to focus on doing what is best for their children.

Occasionally, the court reviews the matter and designates one parent as the sole or primary legal custodian. Usually, this is the same parent who has primary physical custody. Sometimes the court order says that if the parents cannot reach a compromise or resolution after reasonable time and effort, the primary legal custodian gets the final say. Other times judges require that parents seek the services of a mediator before going back to court if they cannot agree on what should be done for the child. The mediator can be either court-sponsored or private.

Parenting time or visitation

Visitation, more often called parenting time today, concerns the time that the parents and children can spend together. It varies from more than half the year to exactly half the calendar year to zero, depending on what the court says.

Many people ask whether children have any say about whether they have to visit the other parent, when, and for how long. The answer is no. Even if the child is 17 1/2 years old, unless a judge decides to take his or her wishes into account, the child must obey both the court and the parents, and go on all parenting-time visits.

Noncustodial parents do not have to exercise all regularly scheduled parenting time or may not always be able to do so. Still, they must give their ex-spouse or the other parent the right of first refusal. This means notifying the other parent as soon as they find out or decide they will not be available to take the kids on a certain date or for a certain period of time. This gives the other parent first dibs at opting to be with the children instead.

Where to start in gaining child custody

A good place to start in making child custody arrangements is to review and fill out—perhaps in pencil at first—a proposed parenting plan or agreement form. These forms are available at your county superior court clerk’s office or website. The process is helpful because it gets you thinking about what a shared parenting arrangement might look like, particularly as it relates to weekdays, weeknights, weekends, holidays, and special days such as the parents’ and children’s birthdays. If you and the other parent can review and discuss a plan together and agree on even some of the terms, you will go a long way toward fully resolving your dispute, be it a divorce or child custody establishment proceeding.

What people are saying about Joan Bundy Law…

Having you for a lawyer was the best thing I did…

Oh my goodness! I have been at this for months! I can’t thank you enough for helping me through it! You made all the difference. Thank you again Joan! Having you for a lawyer was the best thing I did in this whole thing.

— E.H. | Post-decree matter

E.H.

…I really appreciate all of the help you gave me!

Thank you…for all of your help with this case, as well as being so patient with the other party and their lawyer. I really appreciate all of the help you gave me!

— C.R. | Animal law matter

CR

Thank you Joan…

Thank you Joan for your legal advice and your good listening ear.

— P. S. | Animal law matter

PS

…I feel like I’m on cloud nine!…

OMG…I am still soooooooo happy, I feel like I am on cloud nine!! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You again…I don’t feel like I can say it enough!

— E.B. | Child visitation and support matter

EB

…I feel like I’m on cloud nine!…

OMG…I am still soooooooo happy, I feel like I am on cloud nine!! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You again…I don’t feel like I can say it enough!

— E.B. | Child visitation and support matter

EB

…I’d be lost without you…

I greatly appreciate all your help and knowledge, I’d be lost without you in all this and you made me feel at ease and calm. It was great getting to know you. Thanks again!

— M. F. | Child custody matter

MF

…I can’t express our gratitude and appreciation enough!…

[We] want to thank you for all your help with this!! … I can’t express our gratitude and appreciation enough! I couldn’t have done it without you! We will be in touch!

— T. S. | Parental termination matter

TS

…Yes, we did triumph…

Thank you, Joan, for everything….Yes, we did triumph. I hope that [father] could see that I truly am moving forward for the kids’ sake.

— A. A. | Child custody matter

AA

…I was so glad to have you represent me.

Thank you for all of your help and noticing the refund. … I was so glad to have you represent me.

— S. S. | Divorce/relocation matter

SS

…Thank you for being an advocate for animals.

I need to remember that there are good people out there like you! Thank you for being an advocate for animals.

— M.V. | Animal law matter

MV

Thank you so much…

Thank you so much for your boost and help!

— M. S. | Divorce matter

MS

We would like to thank you for everything…

We would like to thank you for everything. We will be in touch.

— J.R | Child custody/Support matter

JR

…I appreciate your help!

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate your help!

— M. S. | Divorce matter

MS

…thank you for helping me…

This is a scary place to be and thank you for helping me to navigate through it.

— D. .M. | Divorce matter

DM

…YOU ROCK!

Thanks Joan as I have stated before…YOU ROCK!

— D. .M. | Divorce matter

DM

…you have been a good listener.

Thank you so much.  You have helped me so much with good legal advice and beyond that, and more important, you have been a good listener.

— R.P. | Legal separation/Divorce matter

RP

…I highly recommend [Joan] for all your personal legal needs.

Joan is a great person, with compassion, and knowledge to help you through troublesome times. She realized that I had particular problems in my divorce, and helped me with timeliness and professionalism that a quality attorney gives to her client. She listens well and represents honesty. I highly recommend her for all your personal legal needs.

— J. S. | Legal separation/Divorce matter

JS

…I would highly recommend Joan to anyone who wants someone with intelligence and integrity to represent them.

Joan helped me through a very long and difficult process, trying to collect on a settlement. She put a lot of time and effort into my case and never gave up. As a result, I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and can take a deep breath! I would highly recommend Joan to anyone who wants someone with intelligence and integrity to represent them.

— C. W. | Post-decree matter

CW

…I really felt like she cared.

I hired Joan to handle my divorce. Although the process itself was difficult, Joan made it much easier. She handled my case with compassion and professionalism. She gave me a clear and accurate fee schedule so I knew exactly how much I could expect to pay. She was always available to answer any of my questions or concerns. I really felt like she cared.

— S.P. | Divorce matter

SP

I was very impressed with the legal services that Joan provided…

I was very impressed with the legal services that Joan provided and she was able to assist in me getting my overpaid alimony money back.

— S.H. | Post-decree matter

SH

…I am so glad I hired Joan for my issues.

I initially talked with another firm (a large family practice here in Phoenix) and I just did not get the warm and fuzzy feeling that they were going to do everything I required. Joan certainly did and I am so glad I hired Joan for my issues.

— S.H. | Post-decree matter

SH

…I recommend her highly.

Joan is a very intelligent and professional attorney that listens carefully and offers very sound advice. I recommend her highly.

— L. N. | Initial consultation

LN

…Words cannot express what peace having you involved gives us.

Thank you for all your help thus far. Words cannot express what peace having you involved gives us.

— K, S. | Guardianship matter

KS

When I couldn’t even get a call back from ANY attorney with my problem, Joan called me back.

When I couldn’t even get a call back from ANY attorney with my problem, Joan called me back.

— C.R. | Animal law matter

CR

…[Joan] continued to assist me and give me courage to my favorable conclusion.

Even though she felt I could handle my situation without an attorney, she continued to assist me and give me courage to my favorable conclusion.

— C.R. | Animal law matter

CR

…Joan handled it with utmost confidence and professionalism.

Despite my case being VERY complicated, Joan handled it with utmost confidence and professionalism.

— T.D. | Same-sex matter

TD

…[Joan] responded to me in less then 24 hours…

When I found myself in the unthinkable with the end of my 16 year marriage upon me, I reached out to Joan.  She responded to me in less then 24 hours and helped put me at ease in reference to his threats.

— M. F. | Divorce/Pet custody matter

MF

…[Joan] can only be described as compassionate and competent in her handling of my case.

From the moment I began working with Joan, she can only be described as compassionate and competent in her handling of my case.

— M. F. | Divorce/Pet custody matter

MF

Joan was very motivated, organized, responsive, and thorough in communication.

Joan was very motivated, organized, responsive, and thorough in communication.

— B. F. | Same-sex matter

BF

She is very supportive of families of all make-ups…

She is very supportive of families of all make-ups and understands Arizona laws surrounding married, unmarried, and LGBT families.

— B. F. | Same-sex matter

BF

…If you are looking for a kind and trustworthy attorney, hire Joan Bundy.

[E]very email and phone call I made, was returned personally by Joan within 24 hours. If you are looking for a kind and trustworthy attorney, hire Joan Bundy.

— W. S. | Legal separation matter

WS

…Ms. Bundy is stellar compared to what we have dealt with in the past.

Communication via email, phone or otherwise is immediately addressed, and, quite frankly, after utilizing the services of another similar attorney, Ms. Bundy is stellar compared to what we have dealt with in the past.

— K.R. | Post-nuptial matter

KR

…Ms. Bundy had our best interests at heart.

The communications process was smooth and efficient, professional and left us in no doubt whatsoever Ms. Bundy had our best interests at heart.  She is a very caring, understanding and compassionate attorney – a true rare breed in today’s world!

— K.R. | Post-nuptial matter

KR

I found her to be competent, professional and assertive…

I found her to be competent, professional and assertive when she needed to be. I would highly recommend her if you are looking for an attorney.

— C.W. | Post-decree matter

CW

…I would definitely recommend Ms. Bundy as a divorce attorney.

She was aggressive, but appropriate, in her dealings with my ex-husband, for which I was grateful.  Additionally, she was very ethical in her billing practices.  I would definitely recommend Ms. Bundy as a divorce attorney.

— K.H. | Divorce matter

KH

…In the courtroom Joan was assertive, took action, and was effective.

Ms. Bundy displayed a genuine concern for the outcome of my case and put heart and soul into every action.  In the courtroom Joan was assertive, took action, and was effective.

— L. S. | Child custody matter

LS

…Joan was always professional, timely and compassionate…

As a single parent of four children navigating a complicated history of court filings, proceeding, evaluations etc… I needed someone knowledgeable and sensitive to the nature of not just the case but the family behind it. Joan was always professional, timely and compassionate concerning my families wants, needs, financial situation, and overall desired outcome.

— L.S. | Child custody matter

LS

…Thank you, Joan, for helping us with our case!

Communication was quick and clear, and we would recommend her for anyone of need of legal services. Thank you, Joan, for helping us with our case!

— N.R. | Animal law matter

NR

…Joan is honest and upfront and I couldn’t have asked for a better attorney.

I was very emotionally distraught and I had no idea what to expect in court, but she was very supportive and reassuring. Joan is honest and upfront and I couldn’t have asked for a better attorney.

— N.H. | Protective order matter

NH

…[Joan] is supportive of families regardless of what they look like, and was very comforting during a very difficult time.

Joan was very friendly, knowledgeable, and thorough in preparation and communication. She is supportive of families regardless of what they look like, and was very comforting during a very difficult time.

— B. F. | Same-sex matter

BF

…[Joan] helped me get myself back together.

I called Joan, and she first calmed me down and told me all would be all right and it was going to be fixed. When I called her, I was an emotional wreck, and she helped me get myself back together so that she could help me get this done.

— R. A. | Divorce matter

RA

…My divorce was as quick and as painless as it could possibly be because of her quality work.

I can speak volumes on her professionalism, amazing response times and great character. She was always available by phone, email or in person. My divorce was as quick and as painless as it could possibly be because of her quality work.

— J. M. | Divorce matter

JM

…I really felt like she cared.

She handled my case with compassion and professionalism….She was always available to answer any of my questions or concerns. I really felt like she cared.

— S.P. | Divorce matter

SP

Joan handled my case with a great deal of professionalism.

Joan handled my case with a great deal of professionalism.

— D. M. | Divorce matter

DM

…you get what you pay for with Joan…

[A] good family law attorney is going to be relatively expensive… it is a field that requires loads of knowledge, experience and time. At least you get what you pay for with Joan, and without “surprises.”

— J. L. | Child custody matter

JL

…[Joan] eased my concerns and kept me informed throughout every step in the process…

She responded quickly to every email I ever sent her and patiently answered all my questions, eased my concerns and kept me informed throughout every step in the process, a most important courtesy when going through such a difficult time.

— J. L. | Child custody matter

JL

…[Joan] has worked hard and efficiently…

She has worked hard and efficiently with me to ensure that I had the best possible shot in court and represented me very well when the day finally came.

— J. L. | Child custody matter

JL

…We highly recommend [Joan] for working with same sex parents or opposite sex parenting plan needs.

Throughout everything, Joan handled the situation with the upmost professionalism. We highly recommend her for working with same sex parents or opposite sex parenting plan needs.

— Anonymous | Same-sex matter

Anonymous

Joan was very professional while handling my case…

Joan was very professional while handling my case against an attorney that was less then ethical. Joan held her ground and remained confident the entire time.

— D.M. | Divorce matter

Anonymous

Joan was very professional while handling my case…

Joan was very professional while handling my case against an attorney that was less then ethical. Joan held her ground and remained confident the entire time.

— D. M. | Divorce matter

DM

I would highly recommend Joan Bundy…

She is and has been very organized and keeps up to date with details regarding my case. She also has taken swift action when it has been necessary. I would highly recommend Joan Bundy if you are looking for an assertive, capable and compassionate attorney.

— C.W. | Post-decree matter

CW

[Joan’s] patience with me not only helped win both legal cases, but has allowed me to start getting back on my feet.

I was facing a couple of different legal as well as medical problems and Joan was always very patient, doing what I asked unless there was a specific or strategic reason not to. Her patience with me not only helped win both legal cases, but has allowed me to start getting back on my feet.

— Rob | Avvo, 2011

Rob

Joan Bundy is a family attorney who is very dedicated to her profession…

Joan Bundy is a family attorney who is very dedicated to her profession and is becoming a force to be reckoned with. If you want an attorney who is honest to a fault and dedicated to her profession, there is none better.

— S.B. | Child custody matter

SB

[Joan] won my case all the way…

I know the best thing I could have done was hire her as my attorney in my situation being I have children I wanted my divorce done right. Joan surely did the job. She won my case all the way and I would definitely keep her as my lawyer for anything in the future.

— S. S. | Divorce matter

SS

[Joan] showed that she was very easy to talk to she listened…

When we first met with the lawyer she showed that she was very easy to talk to she listened gave us options and did not come across stuffy like the first one we had talked to from another firm.

— K. M. | Post-decree matter

KM

…We couldn’t have asked for a better representation.

You have really helped us get on top of this situation and gave [us] the confidence that [we] needed to be able to put [our] foot down for [our] daughter. We couldn’t have asked for a better representation.

— C. M. | Post-decree matter

CM

You are the greatest!…

You are the greatest! Thanks so much for caring….I WON! …Thanks again for your guidance!

— C. R. | Animal law matter

CR

…She listens well and represents honesty.

Joan is a great person, with compassion, and knowledge to help you through troublesome times. She realized that I had particular problems in my divorce, and helped me with timeliness and professionalism that a quality attorney gives to her client. She listens well and represents honesty.

— J. S. | Divorce matter

JS

You have been a great influence and help in my life.

You have been a great influence and help in my life.

— M. S. | Divorce matter

MS

I will continue referring others to you…

I will continue referring others to you. I appreciated your timely and quality advice as well as your professionalism.

— R.R. | Child-custody and child-support modification

RR

Joan proved to be very knowledgeable and competent…

I used Joan’s practice for my divorce. Although it was quite straightforward, no debts, no estate, no kids, the difficulty was that from my part, it was long-distance and international since I reside in France. Joan proved to be very knowledgeable and competent, she gave me clear information and advice about what would happen and the applicable laws.

— V.J. | Divorce matter

VJ

[Joan] helped us accomplish everything we set out to do.

Joan was very attentive to our situation and needs. She always got back to us in a timely manner. All of our questions and concerns were addressed. She helped us accomplish everything we set out to do.

— J.V. | Post-decree modification/relocation matter

JV

[Joan] is the most professional lawyer I have ever had…

She is the most professional lawyer I have ever had. She responds quickly and is way more knowledgeable than any of my previous lawyers.

— A.C. | Child custody matter

AC

Contact a Chandler child custody lawyer

Child custody is the most important and most hotly contested legal issue in family law today. Don’t leave to chance your children’s well-being and future. Consult with a lawyer who has considerable experience with divorces involving children as well as nonmarital child custody cases.

Call Joan Bundy Law at 480.463.4600 to find out how an experienced Chandler child custody lawyer can review your matter and help you resolve your child custody issue in the best interests of you and your family.

Contact Chandler divorce and family lawyer Joan Bundy.