Domestic Violence Presumption in Arizona Child Custody Cases
We want to talk to you about what is known as the domestic violence presumption in Arizona child custody cases. To start, we are going to discuss what the domestic violence presumption is in an Arizona child custody case by discussing the Arizona Court of Appeals’ decision on that issue in the case of Deluna v. Petitto.
We will then discuss how the domestic violence presumption in Arizona child custody cases switches the burden of proof from the abused parent to the abuser to prove why joint legal decision making is in the best interests of the children despite the existence of domestic violence.
As part of that discussion, we will show you why it does not matter, for purposes of the domestic violence presumption, whether the domestic violence was considered by the court to be a significant act of domestic violence or, although still domestic violence, a less significant act of domestic violence.
Defining the Domestic Violence Presumption in Arizona Child Custody Cases
Arizona law requires the court to make a domestic violence presumption in Arizona child custody cases if it determines a parent has engaged in domestic violence.
The domestic violence presumption in Arizona child custody cases requires the abusive parent to prove that joint legal custody of a child is in the child’s best interests.
In its published decision in Deluna v. Petitto, — P.3d —, 2019 WL 4197236 (App.2019) the Court of Appeals explained the appropriate procedure the court must follow when examining domestic violence in family law cases.
Deluna involved a married couple with three children.
Before their marriage in 2016, Father was arrested in 2013 after he committed an act of domestic violence by assaulting Mother and her daughter from a previous relationship.
Mother did not cooperate in the prosecution and the charges were dismissed.
After the parties separated in 2017, Mother obtained an order of protection against Father, which he then violated.
Mother filed for divorce and at trial, the Court found that although Father had committed domestic violence, it was not “significant domestic violence” under A.R.S. § 25-403.03(A), and Father was not precluded from joint legal decision-making authority and parenting time.
Domestic Violence Presumption Switches the Burden of Proof to the Abuser
On appeal, Mother argued that she proved significant domestic violence, but even if the court determined it was not significant, the court erred by failing to apply the domestic violence presumption in her Arizona child custody case pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-403.03(D).
That statute requires a finding that awarding joint legal decision-making authority to a parent who has committed any act of domestic violence is contrary to the child’s best interests.
The Court of Appeals agreed and found the court failed to apply the factors listed in A.R.S. § 25-403.03(E) to determine whether Father rebutted the presumption that joint legal decision making was not in the child’s best interests, after finding domestic violence had occurred.
The Court of Appeals then explained analysis that must take place in an Arizona child custody case when reviewing the issue of domestic violence.
If the court determines there has been significant domestic violence, joint legal decision-making, meaning joint legal custody, is precluded as a matter of law.
However, if the court finds any domestic violence, A.R.S. § 25-403.03(D) creates a rebuttable presumption and the court must make specific findings under A.R.S. § 25-403.03(E) to determine whether the presumption has been rebutted in a child custody case in Arizona.
Factors That Need to Be Considered When Rebutting the Domestic Violence Presumption
Mother also argued that the court erred by awarding parenting time to Father without conducting the analysis required by A.R.S. § 25-403.03(F).
The Court of Appeals agreed and ruled that because the court concluded that Father had committed domestic violence, it was required to explicitly determine whether Father had shown that parenting time will not endanger the child or significantly impair the child’s emotional development.
The court erred by failing to make specific findings explaining its reasoning and conclusions when it awarded parenting time to Father.
Summary of the domestic violence presumption in Arizona
If a court determines an act of domestic violence has occurred in an Arizona child custody case, the judge must first determine if the act of domestic violence was significant or not. If the act of domestic violence is found to be a significant act of domestic violence, a judge is precluded by law from granting the parents joint legal decision making over their children. The abused parent will, therefore, receive sole custody of the children.
To the contrary, if the court determines an act of domestic violence occurred but concludes that the act of domestic violence was not significant, the court is not immediately precluded from granting the parents joint legal custody of their children. Instead, the burden of proof shifts to the abuser to prove an award of joint legal custody is in the children’s best interests, pursuant to all of the factors set forth in Arizona revised statute section § 25-403.03(E).
Once the court has reviewed the evidence, a judge is required to state its findings as to each statutory factor to justify why either the abuser did not prove joint legal decision making is in the children’s best interest or, alternatively, why the abuser did overcome the domestic violence presumption that joint legal decision making is not in the children’s best interests when a parent commits an act of domestic violence against the other parent.
Arizona Attorneys for Domestic Violence Presumption Child Custody Cases
If you have questions about domestic violence presumption in Arizona child custody cases, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona child custody and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in child custody and family law cases.
Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.
Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your Arizona child custody or family law case around today.
More Articles About Child Custody in Arizona
- ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY LAWS
- DIVORCE AND GRANDPARENTS VISITATION RIGHTS IN ARIZONA
- CHANGING A CHILD’S LAST NAME IN ARIZONA
- PARENT INFORMATION PROGRAM CLASS IN ARIZONA
- GRANDPARENTS RIGHTS IN ARIZONA
- MOVING CHILDREN MANY TIMES IN ARIZONA
- PARENTAL ALIENATION IN ARIZONA
- JOINT CUSTODY AND SCHOOL DECISIONS IN ARIZONA
- DO COURTS FAVOR MOTHERS IN CUSTODY BATTLES IN ARIZONA
- ENFORCE VISITATION NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT IN ARIZONA
- DELEGATION OF CHILD CUSTODY DECISIONS TO AN EXPERT IN ARIZONA
- PRESUMPTION OF EQUAL PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO GET SOLE CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO ENFORCE PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- CO-PARENTING AFTER DIVORCE IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO CHANGE A CHILD’S LAST NAME IN ARIZONA
- GETTING EMERGENCY CHILD CUSTODY ORDERS IN ARIZONA
- HOW DO YOU MODIFY VISITATION OR PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- WHAT VISITATION OR PARENTING TIME SCHEDULES DO JUDGES ORDER IN ARIZONA
- WHAT IS A CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATION IN ARIZONA
- PREPARE FOR A CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATION IN ARIZONA
- CAN A GRANDPARENT OR STEPPARENT BE AWARDED CUSTODY OF A CHILD IN AZ
- CONTESTING RELOCATION OF A CHILD WHEN YOU DO NOT LIVE IN ARIZONA
- WHO HAS CUSTODY OF CHILDREN WHEN A DIVORCE IS FILED IN ARIZONA
- WHAT ARE THE CHILD CUSTODY FACTORS IN ARIZONA
- WHAT IT JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY OR JOINT DECISION MAKING IN ARIZONA
- ARE MOTHERS FAVORED CHILD CUSTODY CASES IN ARIZONA
- WHAT IS A PARENTING COORDINATOR IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- CAN A PARENT WITH SOLE CUSTODY LIMIT ACCESS TO A CHILD’S MEDICAL RECORDS IN ARIZONA
- WHAT HAPPENS IF A PARENT WANTS TO MOVE OUT OF STATE WITH A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- PARENTING TIME AFTER LOSING AN ORDER OF PROTECTION HEARING IN ARIZONA
- WHO IS THE BEST CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER IN ARIZONA
- ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY STATUTES
- ARIZONA UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION AND ENFORCEMENT ACT STATUTES
- TEMPORARY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- ADOPTION ATTORNEYS IN ARIZONA
- RESTRICTIONS IN ARIZONA ON TAKING CHILDREN TO ANOTHER COUNTRY
- WITHHOLDING CHILD FROM CUSTODIAL PARENT IN ARIZONA
- AFFIDAVIT IN A CHILD CUSTODY CASE IN ARIZONA
- BEST INTEREST ATTORNEY IN ARIZONA
- LATE OBJECTION TO CHILD RELOCATION NOTICE IN ARIZONA
- RAISING ALLEGATIONS THAT WERE RAISED IN A PRIOR ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- TEMPORARY VISITATION ORDER FOR GRANDPARENTS IN ARIZONA
- WHEN THE CHILD RELOCATION STATUTE DOES NOT APPLY IN ARIZONA
- SIGNIFICANT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SOLE CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO CHOOSE A GUARDIAN FOR YOUR CHILD IN ARIZONA
- MULTI-STATE CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION IN ARIZONA
- SCHOOL CHOICE CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- TEMPORARY ORDERS FOR GRANDPARENTS VISITATION IN ARIZONA
- CAN A STEPPARENT BE HELD IN CONTEMPT IN ARIZONA
- UNAUTHORIZED RELOCATION OF CHILDREN IN ARIZONA
- GRANDPARENTS CANNOT PREVENT CHILD RELOCATION IN ARIZONA
- WHEN ARIZONA CHILD RELOCATION STATUTE IN ARIZONA DOES NOT APPLY
- ARIZONA CHILD RELOCATION LAWS
- INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION IN ARIZONA
- UCCJEA CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION IN ARIZONA
- MENTAL HEALTH RECORDS IN CHILD CUSTODY CASES IN ARIZONA
- FAILING TO ALLEGE CHANGED CIRCUMSTANCES TO MODIFY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE IN A CHILD CUSTODY CASE IN ARIZONA
- CHILD CUSTODY AND NARCISSISTIC A PARENT IN ARIZONA
- CHANGE CIRCUMSTANCES TO CHANGE CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- EFFECT OF MUTUAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ON CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- PARENTING TIME WITH A NON-BIOLOGICAL CHILD IN ARIZONA
- DENIAL OF MORE TIME IN CHILD CUSTODY CASE IN ARIZONA
- WHEN A CHILD CUSTODY HEARING IS REQUIRED IN ARIZONA
- HOSTILITY BASIS TO MODIFY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- MEANING OF HOME STATE IN ARIZONA
- USE OF THE UCCJEA IN DEPENDENCY CASES IN ARIZONA
- EFFECT OF DENIAL OF VISITATION ON CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS IN ARIZONA
- CUSTODY DECISIONS CANNOT BE DELEGATED TO AN EXPERT
- THIRD-PARTY AND EMERGENCY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- STEPPARENT IN LOCO PARENTIS CHILD VISITATION IN ARIZONA
- STEPPARENTS CANNOT OBTAIN CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- BEST INTEREST STANDARD FOR THIRD-PARTY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- TEMPORARY CHILD CUSTODY IN AN ARIZONA DIVORCE DECREE
- MODIFICATION OF CUSTODY AND CHILD ABDUCTION IN ARIZONA
- VISITATION RIGHTS AND IN LOCO PARENTIS STANDING IN ARIZONA
- HOW DIVORCE AFFECTS CHILDREN IN ARIZONA
- PARENTING PLANS COURTS USE IN ARIZONA
- PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM A HOSTILE PARENT IN ARIZONA
- SUITABLE NOTICE FOR CHILD CUSTODY HEARING IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO DEAL WITH A HOSTILE PARENT IN ARIZONA
- JURISDICTION OVER CHILD RESIDING OUTSIDE ARIZONA
- HABEAS CORPUS IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- NOTICE OF HEARING IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- STANDARD OF CARE TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE IN ARIZONA
- APPEALING DEPENDENCY ORDERS IN ARIZONA
- MODIFICATION OF PARENTING TIME CHANGE WHEN KIDS CHANGE SCHOOLS
- STANDARD FOR TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS IN ARIZONA
- A MINOR’S RIGHT TO BE HEARD IN A CHILD CUSTODY CASE IN ARIZONA
- CAN THE COURT APPOINT A GUARDIAN FOR A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- EXCLUDING TESTIMONY IN A CHILD CUSTODY CASE IN ARIZONA
- SUPERVISED PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- JURISDICTION FOR A DEPENDENCY CASE IN ARIZONA
- CHANGING A CHILD’S LAST NAME IN ARIZONA
- SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- JURISDICTION TO PETITION FOR VISITATION IN ARIZONA
- NO ALCOHOL DURING PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- FAILING TO APPEAR FOR CHILD CUSTODY HEARING IN ARIZONA
- ONE SPOUSE ADOPTS A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- BASICS OF CHILD ABUSE IN ARIZONA
- CHILD ABUSE AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- FATHERS RIGHTS IN ARIZONA
- PREPARE FOR A CHILD CUSTODY CASE IN ARIZONA
- CO-PARENTING WITH YOUR EX IN ARIZONA
- PETITION TO MODIFY CHILD SUPPORT AND SOLE CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- DUE PROCESS IN A CHILD CUSTODY HEARING IN ARIZONA
- SOLE LEGAL CUSTODY OVER MEDICAL DECISIONS FOR A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- THIRD-PARTY VISITATION WITH A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL IN ARIZONA
- FINAL DECISION-MAKING AUTHORITY OVER A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- CAN A BEST INTEREST ATTORNEY TESTIFY AT TRIAL IN ARIZONA
- MODIFY A SUPERVISED VISITATION ORDER IN ARIZONA
- CALCULATING DISTANCE FOR A CHILD RELOCATION IN ARIZONA
- DISMISSING PETITION TO MODIFY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- WHAT IS A THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTIONIST IN ARIZONA
- WHAT HAPPENS TO EMBRYOS IN A DIVORCE IN ARIZONA
- CHANGE CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA WHEN PARENT MOVES AWAY
- IMPORTANCE OF MEDIATING A CHILD CUSTODY CASE IN ARIZONA
- CHILD CUSTODY AND CRIMINAL RECORDS IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO PREPARE FOR A CHILD CUSTODY HEARING IN ARIZONA
- WHEN FINDINGS OF FACT ARE NOT REQUIRED AFTER A CHILD CUSTODY TRIAL IN ARIZONA
- COURT APPOINTED CHILD THERAPIST IN ARIZONA
- HOME STATE CUSTODY JURISDICTION WHEN CHILD RELOCATED TO ARIZONA
- CAN VISITATION WITH A CHILD BE REDUCED WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE IN ARIZONA
- CHILDREN WITNESSING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN ARIZONA
- CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES FOR A CHILD CUSTODY MODIFICATION IN ARIZONA
- HEARING TO DECLINE CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION IN ARIZONA
- CUSTODY OF A CHILD IN AN ARIZONA DEPENDENCY CASE
- LATE DISCLOSURE IN AZ CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- EMERGENCY CHILD CUSTODY WHEN ARIZONA LACKS JURISDICTION
- HOW TO REGISTER A CHILD CUSTODY ORDER IN ARIZONA
- EFFECT OF CORONAVIRUS ON CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION ORDERS