Conciliation Court Services in Arizona
The Arizona legislature passed a series of laws creating the rules for the use of Conciliation Court Services in Arizona are from Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-318.01 through Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-381.24. We are going to explain those laws so you can consider using conciliation court services in your Arizona divorce case.
Purpose of Conciliation Court Services
First, we want you to understand the reason these laws were passed. The Court of Conciliation Act was enacted to protect and preserve the family, to protect children’s rights, to reunite the family or and bring an amicable resolution of family disputes. The statutes permit all Superior Courts in Arizona to create their own Courts of Conciliation, which the Superior Court’s in Maricopa County have done.
Conciliation Court Process
A petition to invoke the Conciliation Court Services in Arizona can be filed either before or after a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or a Petition for Legal Separation is filed. By law, you may not be charged any fees for the services provided by Conciliation Court Services in Arizona.
The judge assigned to your Conciliation case will set a time for a hearing for all parties and witnesses within thirty days of receiving the Petition for Conciliation Services or if good cause exists, can extend the hearing to forty-five days from the date the Petition for Conciliation Services.
Upon conclusion of the meeting with the counselor or another person, a report will be provided to the judge of the Conciliation Conciliation Court at which time the judge may order additional hearings with the conciliation team.
If one party requests another meeting, the judge of the Conciliation Court must schedule another conciliation meeting. The judge can also compel the participation of professionals, such as medical doctors, mental health providers, and priests to participate in the conciliation process.
Unlike a divorce or legal separation proceeding, all communications by either party to the judge of the Conciliation Court are confidential. This means the judge will not tell either spouse what the other spouse has shared with the judge. Also, unlike a regular court, the conciliation proceedings are private and not open to the public.
Conciliation Court Services Stay of Further Proceedings
While the conciliation court services are being provided, the conciliation judge can issue Temporary Orders, including child custody, child support, use of community property, restraining orders, and preliminary injunctions. When a Petition for Conciliation Services is filed a sixty-day stay preventing either party from filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Petition for Legal Separation.
If a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or a Petition for Legal Separation has already been filed before the Petition for Conciliation Services is filed, the stay will preclude either party from filing any additional pleadings with the Court. The judge of the Conciliation Court may extend that stay to one-hundred-twenty days if requested by a spouse unless the other spouse demonstrates there is good cause not to further extend the sixty-day stay.
If a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or a Petition for Legal Separation has been filed and served, each spouse has sixty-days from the date the Petition was served on the other spouse to file a Petition for Conciliation Court Services.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about conciliation court services in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about marital counseling during a divorce in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.
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