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Phoenix/Mesa Law Firm Helps Couples Work Through Joint Custody PDF Print E-mail
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Phoenix/Mesa law firm of Gibson Ferrin & Riggs, PLC helps divorcing couples understand joint child custody - can it work for them?

PHOENIX/MESA, AZ, May 19, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- When joint legal custody is suggested during a divorce it is vital for both parents to understand what that entails and how it may work for the best interest of their child.

"Joint custody deals with parents' ability to make mutual decisions regarding the general areas of education, medical, extracurricular activities and religion," says attorney Paul C. Riggs, one of Gibson Ferrin & Riggs' founding partners.

Riggs, who has been practicing law since 1988, says although these areas are extremely important in a child's life, for parents to make mutual decisions pertaining to them may sometimes be the difference in getting along as husband and wife.

"For joint custody to work it requires each parent to get along with the ex-spouse for the benefit of the child, Riggs says. "Parents can and must reach a mutual decision so that the child feels support from both parents."

There are, however, certain issues that are usually not left up to the parents, Riggs explains.

"Regarding education, the kids will typically continue to attend school where the primary parent lives," he says. "They will still typically go to the same doctor after the divorce and they will typically follow the advice of the doctor."

Issues where mutual decisions need to be made may include considerations when extracurricular activities of a child interfere with the schedule of a parent or choosing how to treat the child's illness by either holistic or traditional medicine, he says.

To make such decisions, parents need to communicate openly concerning the child in a noncombative atmosphere, he says. "That means putting the child first."

Can joint custody work?

It can, Riggs says, if both parties are willing to make it work.

And the extra effort can pay off. American Psychological Association research shows that children are likely to be better adjusted - have fewer behavior and emotional problems, have higher self-esteem, and have better family relations and school performance - in joint vs. sole custody arrangements in most cases.

Riggs says that the question each parent must ask - and answer honestly - is this: "Can I love my child more than I hate my ex-spouse?"

Riggs handles divorce (contested or uncontested), child custody, spousal maintenance, child support, visitation, legal separation, post-decree modifications, community property division, pre-marital agreements, adoptions, as well as other family law related cases at Gibson Ferrin & Riggs, PLC in southeast Mesa.

About Gibson Ferrin & Riggs, PLC

The attorneys at Gibson Ferrin & Riggs, PLC concentrate their practice on serving individuals, families and small business owners with family law, business related issues and estate planning. They can help identify and assess the things that matter most to their clients and work to preserve, promote and protect them. Visit their website at and their blog at The firm's expertise in family law, business law, commercial litigation and estate law is recognized throughout the Phoenix/Mesa area.

Call attorney Paul Riggs at 480-633-8100 with any questions on joint custody issues, divorce or to schedule a confidential and comprehensive consultation.


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