Change in Circumstances to Change Child Custody in Arizona | Voted “Best of the Valley”
Posted on : April 20, 2016, By: Christopher Hildebrand
Change in Circumstances to Change Child Custody in Arizona
Change in Circumstances to Change Child Custody in Arizona.
In Arizona, changing an order regarding legal decision making, parenting time and/or child support that is already in place requires that a Petition to Modify be filed. Either party may request the modification. In considering such a request, the court must determine whether the filing the requested modification met his or her burden of proof of establishing a significant and continuing change in circumstances to justify modification of the order already in place. In the unpublished Arizona Court of Appeals case of Boatley v. Mixon, the court found the parties were the parents of twin girls born in 2010. Previous proceedings had occurred in both family court and the juvenile court regarding the parties’ children.
In October 2013, an order was issued in both the family court and juvenile court granting Mother visitation with the girls. At an evidentiary hearing regarding a petition Father filed to establish orders for legal decision making authority and parenting time, a report from a psychiatrist who evaluated Mother was considered by the court. The trial court affirmed Father’s sole legal decision making authority over the children and ordered Mother to have no contact with the children, Father or the children’s stepmother. In support of its decision, the family court cited the psychiatrist’s diagnosis of Mother with Antisocial Personality Disorder describing it as likely the condition would interfere with her ability to offer the children a “safe and secure environment.”
Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
Kevin Park of Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
I have worked with Hildebrand law for about 8 years. They are always ready to serve, provide guidance and give you a few options. When they provide you options they also take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of each and give you a recommendation of what is best, but will listen to you and support whatever course you choose after making and educated choice. I’d recommend them to my closest friends and feel Chris Hildebrand is now a friend to me.
Despite the unfortunate situation I found myself in, Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law helped me maneuver every step with professionalism, expertise, and even a sensitivity that was an added bonus.Chris and his staff helped me even when I didn't know I needed the help. In other words. . . they made sure we did not leave anything undone. And in the rare instance we needed the expertise of another professional, Chris knew exactly who to recommend.Chris also knew, because of his experience, what to anticipate down the road of litigation. That meant we were better prepared to meet the challenges head on, which lead to a more equitable and fair outcome. I appreciated that Chris did his best to meet my every need in a timely fashion, even if I had a simple question that required only a phone call or e-mail or if we needed to talk face-to-face.I highly recommend Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law, PC.
The court also noted that the psychiatrist was of the belief that Mother was not likely to demonstrate minimally adequate parenting skills, and that a child in her care would be at risk for abuse. One of the twins died a tragic death after which Mother filed a petition to modify legal decision making, parenting and child support. She stated that her daughter’s death was due to a lack of medical care and false reporting of her well being. She alleged that her surviving daughter was in danger due to Father’s and stepmother’s “criminal and domestic violence backgrounds.”
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The court sought additional information from the Phoenix Police Department as well as the Department of Child Safety (DCS) after which the court dismissed the petition. The court concluded that while the death of one of the children was tragic, there was no basis for the court to attribute the child’s death to misconduct on the part of Father or stepmother or that the remaining child in their care was seriously endangered. The trial court also noted serious concerns regarding the mental stability of Mother and her ability to care for the parties’ child. For these reasons, the court dismissed Mother’s petition. Mother appealed.
Change In Circumstances and the One Year Year in Arizona
The One Year Rule and Child Custody Modification.
On appeal, Mother raised a number of arguments that were not related to the dismissal of her petition for modification. As the review on appeal is limited to the rulings specified in the notice of appeal, those issues were disregarded by the Arizona Court of Appeals. The Arizona Court of Appeals reviewed the requirements of A.R.S. Section 25-411(A), which prohibits filing a motion to modify a legal decision-making or parenting time decree earlier than one year after the legal decision-making order was issued, unless there is reason to believe the present environment of the minor child leaves them in serious danger.
Mother’s petition was filed only six months after the previous order was issued and included only general allegations about Father without any supporting evidence. Claims that the deceased child did not receive adequate medical care appear to be contradicted by medical records attached to the petition that state the child was admitted to the hospital with “sickle cell crisis” and there were “no abuse concerns, no…neglect.”