Domestic Violence Presumption in Arizona Child Custody Cases
Table of Contents
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 need to distinguish between a significant act of domestic violence or significant history of domestic violence from a less significant act or history of domestic violence.
The former precludes an award of joint legal decision making, as more fully discussed in the Arizona Court of Appeals decision in Morris vs. Mandel, while the latter provide for a rebuttable presumption that joint legal decision making is not in a child’s best interests.
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 that is not considered to be significant.
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
- CHILD CUSTODY LAWS IN ARIZONA
- CHILD RELOCATION IS A MODIFICATION OF CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- CALCULATING DISTANCE FOR CHILD RELOCATION IN ARIZONA
- CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES FOR CHILD CUSTODY MODIFICATIONS IN ARIZONA
- EMERGENCY CHILD CUSTODY WHEN ARIZONA LACKS JURISDICTION
- HOW TO REGISTER A CHILD CUSTODY ORDER IN ARIZONA
- HOME STATE CUSTODY JURISDICTION WHEN A CHILD RELOCATES TO ARIZONA
- ARIZONA CHILD RELOCATION LAWS
- ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION: TEMPORARY VERSUS PERMANENT RELOCATIONS
- TEMPORARY VISITATION ORDERS FOR GRANDPARENTS IN ARIZONA
- CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN CHILD RELOCATION STATUTE DOES NOT APPLY IN ARIZONA
- SIGNIFICANT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SOLE CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- SIGNIFICANT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD CUSTODY MATTERS IN ARIZONA
- RAISING ALLEGATIONS THAT WERE RAISED IN A PRIOR ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- MULTI-STATE CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION IN ARIZONA
- SCHOOL CHOICE AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- UNAUTHORIZED RELOCATION OF CHILDREN IN ARIZONA
- GRANDPARENTS CANNOT PREVENT CHILD RELOCATION IN ARIZONA
- WHEN ARIZONA’S CHILD RELOCATION STATUTE DOES NOT APPLY
- UCCJEA CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION IN ARIZONA
- MENTAL HEALTH RECORDS IN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- FAILING TO ALLEGE A CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN MODIFYING CHILD CUSTODY
- CHILD CUSTODY AND NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDERS IN ARIZONA
- CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES TO CHANGE CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- MUTUAL ACTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- PARENTING TIME WITH A NON-BIOLOGICAL CHILD IN ARIZONA
- WHEN A CHILD CUSTODY HEARING IS REQUIRED IN ARIZONA
- HOSTILE COMMUNICATIONS A BASIS TO MODIFY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- DUE PROCESS RIGHTS IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY HEARING
- THIRD PARTY VISITATION WITH A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- SUITABLE NOTICE FOR AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY HEARING
- MEANING OF HOME STATE JURISDICTION IN ARIZONA
- WHAT DOCTORS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- WITHHOLDING CHILDREN FROM A CUSTODIAL PARENT IN ARIZONA
- THE BEST CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER IN ARIZONA
- FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE IN A CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- WHO GETS CUSTODY OF THE CHILDREN WHEN A DIVORCE IS FILED IN ARIZONA
- WHAT VISITATION OR PARENTING TIME SCHEDULES CAN JUDGES ORDER IN ARIZONA
- WHAT IS JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY AND JOINT LEGAL DECISION MAKING IN ARIZONA
- WHAT IS A PARENTING COORDINATOR IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- WHAT IS A CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATION IN ARIZONA
- WHAT HAPPENS IF A PARENT WANTS TO MOVE OUT OF STATE WITH A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- WHAT ARE THE CHILD CUSTODY FACTORS IN ARIZONA
- TEMPORARY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- RESTRICTIONS IN ARIZONA ON TAKING CHILDREN TO ANOTHER COUNTRY
- PRESUMPTION OF EQUAL PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- PREPARING FOR AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATION
- PARENTING TIME AFTER LOSING AN ORDER OF PROTECTION HEARING IN ARIZONA
- PARENTAL ALIENATION IN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- PARENT INFORMATION PROGRAM CLASS IN ARIZONA
- LIMITS ON MOVING CHILDREN MULTIPLE TIMES IN ARIZONA
- JOINT CUSTODY AND SCHOOL DECISIONS IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO GET SOLE CUSTODY OF CHILDREN IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO ENFORCE PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO CHANGE A CHILD’S LAST NAME IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO MODIFY VISITATION OR PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- GRANDPARENT CUSTODY AND VISITATION RIGHTS IN ARIZONA
- GETTING EMERGENCY CHILD CUSTODY ORDERS IN ARIZONA
- ENFORCING VISITATION AS A NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT
- DO COURTS FAVOR MOTHERS IN CUSTODY BATTLES
- ARIZONA COURTS CANNOT DELEGATE CHILD CUSTODY DETERMINATIONS TO AN EXPERT
- CONTESTING RELOCATION OF A CHILD WHEN YOU DO NOT LIVE IN ARIZONA
- CO-PARENTING AFTER DIVORCE
- CHANGING A CHILD’S LAST NAME IN ARIZONA
- CAN A PARENT WITH SOLE CUSTODY LIMIT ACCESS TO A CHILD’S MEDICAL RECORDS
- CAN A GRANDPARENT OR STEPPARENT BE AWARDED CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- AFFIDAVITS IN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A BEST INTEREST ATTORNEY IN ARIZONA
- WITNESS PREPARATION IN ARIZONA DIVORCE AND CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- EFFECT OF CORONAVIRUS ON CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION ORDERS
- TEMPORARY ORDERS FOR GRANDPARENT VISITATION IN ARIZONA
- CAN A STEPPARENT BE HELD IN CONTEMPT FOR WRONGFUL DENIAL OF VISITATION IN ARIZONA
- INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- CHILD ABUSE AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CHILD CUSTODY LAWS IN ARIZONA
- CUSTODY OF THE FAMILY PET IN A DIVORCE IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO GET CUSTODY OF A CHILD IN AN ARIZONA DEPENDENCY CASE
- JUDGES CANNOT REQUIRE A CHILD TO SEE A THERAPIST IN AN ARIZONA CUSTODY DISPUTE
- CALCULATING CHILD SUPPORT WITH SPLIT CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- EXCLUDING EVIDENCE DISCLOSED LATE IN A CHILD CUSTODY CASE IN ARIZONA
- HEARING REQUIRED BEFORE DECLINING CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION IN ARIZONA
- FILING A LATE OBJECTION TO CHILD RELOCATION NOTICE IN ARIZONA
- CAN VISITATION WITH A CHILD BE REDUCED WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE IN ARIZONA
- WHEN FINDINGS OF FACT ARE NOT REQUIRED IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- FINAL DECISION-MAKING AUTHORITY IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO PREPARE FOR A CHILD CUSTODY HEARING IN ARIZONA
- IMPORTANCE OF MEDIATING CHILD CUSTODY ISSUES IN A DIVORCE IN ARIZONA
- CHANGING CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA WHEN A PARENT RELOCATES TO ANOTHER STATE
- WHAT IS A THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTIONIST IN ARIZONA
- DISMISSAL OF A PETITION TO MODIFY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- CAN A BEST INTEREST ATTORNEY TESTIFY AT A CHILD CUSTODY TRIAL IN ARIZONA
- CHILD CUSTODY AND CRIMINAL RECORDS IN ARIZONA
- FATHER AWARDED CUSTODY ON MOTHER’S MOTION TO MODIFY IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO PREPARE FOR A CHILD CUSTODY CASE IN ARIZONA
- CO-PARENTING WITH YOUR EX IN ARIZONA
- THIRD PARTY SEEKING EMERGENCY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL IN ARIZONA
- SOLE LEGAL CUSTODY OVER MEDICAL DECISIONS IN ARIZONA
- BEWARE OF THE KNOWN DONOR IN STATES LIKE CALIFORNIA
- SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- FAILING TO APPEAR FOR A CHILD CUSTODY HEARING IN ARIZONA
- PROHIBITING CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL AS A CONDITION OF PARENTING TIME
- JURISDICTION IS NECESSARY TO PETITION FOR VISITATION IN ARIZONA
- JURISDICTION FOR DEPENDENCY CASES IN ARIZONA
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- GUIDELINES FOR SUPERVISED PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- EXCLUDING TESTIMONY IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- RIGHT OF A GUARDIAN AD LITEM TO BE HEARD IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- CHANGING PARENTING TIME WHEN CHILDREN CHANGE SCHOOLS
- APPEALING DEPENDENCY ORDERS IN ARIZONA
- RIGHT TO NOTICE AND AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- HABEAS CORPUS IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- JURISDICTION OVER A MINOR CHILD RESIDING OUTSIDE THE STATE OF ARIZONA
- DENIAL OF ADDITIONAL TIME TO PRESENT EVIDENCE IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- PARENTING PLANS IN ARIZONA DIVORCE AND CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- VISITATION RIGHTS OF A PERSON STANDING IN LOCO PARENTIS TO A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- MODIFICATION OF CHILD CUSTODY AND CHILD ABDUCTION IN ARIZONA
- TEMPORARY CHILD CUSTODY ORDERS IN AN ARIZONA DIVORCE DECREE
- CAN A STEPPARENT OBTAIN CHILD CUSTODY RIGHTS IN ARIZONA
- IN LOCO PARENTIS VISITATION WITH A CHILD BY A STEPPARENT IN ARIZONA
- BEST INTEREST STANDARD FOR THIRD PARTY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY DECISIONS CANNOT BE DELEGATED TO AN EXPERT
- USE OF THE UCCJEA IN DEPENDENCY CASES IN ARIZONA
- ARIZONA UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION AND ENFORCEMENT ACT STATUTES
- WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONLY ONE SPOUSE ADOPTS A CHILD IN ARIZONA