New Arizona law encourages more joint parenting

An Arizona law that goes into effect Tuesday encourages divorced parents to do more joint parenting.

The law requires courts to adopt plans that increase as much as possible both parents' time with a child and forbids judges from giving one parent preference based on the parent's or child's gender.

The Arizona Republic reports that, under the new law, judges now must fine any parent who lies to the court or tries to delay court proceedings. Such fines were previously optional.

Physical custody will now be called parenting time and legal custody will now be called legal decision-making authority.

Parents with decision-making authority have power over decisions of a child's health and education and over personal-care matters such as haircuts and ear piercing.