New Custody Law: Father jumps at a chance to get more time with his boys
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Eddie Morales, Jr. is the father of two boys --- ages 10 and 7. He's been divorced less than a year and his children live primarily with their mother.
"The agreement was the parenting plan that was put in place was every other weekend, and then rotating holidays, split holidays which was the toughest part of it," said Morales>
Eddie says he and his ex-wife signed off on that plan, because he says he thought it was his only option. "I always thought that parenting went to the mother first and then the father got his time. It was pretty much this was his parenting time rather than these are my kids and I should see them equal time," he said.
After learning about the new custody law, Eddie wants to change the previous parenting agreement.
"Rather than starting out with 26 days every other weekend throughout the year, it's a lot easier to start level and then give and take from there." KGUN9 reporter Valerie Cavazos asked him if he wanted that extra time. "Absolutely, I've always wanted extra time with my boys than I've gotten."
Eddie is now working with his attorney to try to add more days to his parenting calendar.
Attorney Danette Pahl said, "This is an example of what is considered a typical case where you have a parent that doesn't have as much parenting time and has become aware of the law."
The new law does not guarantee that Eddie will get equal time, but it states he's entitled reasonable parenting time to ensure that his children have substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with him.
"The attempt is to maximize the time. it's always within a judge's discretion because it still comes back to what's in the child's best interest.," said Pahl.
Eddie says he's okay with that. He just welcomes the chance -- leaving him "optimistic, excited. To have my boys more would be great," he said.
But there are a number of factors that could prevent a parent from getting more time with their children. That includes -- if parents live too far apart and it's just not logistically possible to make it work or the court finds that more time with a parent would endanger the child's physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.