Table of Contents
We want to talk to you about what you can do when there are false allegations of child abuse in a child custody case in Arizona.
You will learn about the use of emergency custody orders designed to protect children from child abuse.
We will also discuss the need for a judge to evaluate the credibility of witnesses when an allegation of child abuse is made in a child custody case in Arizona. Lastly, you will see how one judge ruled on child custody issues when the judge concluded the allegations of child abuse were not credible.
In cases of alleged sexual molestation of a child by a parent sharing parenting time and legal decision making, the Court must carefully weigh all testimony, consider the expert opinion, and make accurate interpretations of the law in their efforts to provide for the safety and best interests of the child.
In many situations, such as those seen in the unpublished Arizona Court of Appeals decision in the Flynn v. Brown case, false or misguided accusations of abuse can severely damage relationships that are in the child’s best interests to protect. Amanda C. Flynn (Mother) and Gregory Scott Brown (Father) were divorced in 2011.
Emergency Child Custody Orders to Protect a Child From Abuse
The dissolution decree awarded Mother sole legal custody and final decision-making authority. The father was granted supervised parenting time. Mother filed a petition to modify parenting time in 2013 claiming that the father abused their child by molesting their daughter.
The family court judge awarded the mother sole legal decision-making authority and suspended the father’s parenting time on an emergency basis until the issue could be addressed in court. After the hearing, emergency temporary orders were affirmed, the child’s counseling was discontinued, and the trial was scheduled.
In the joint pretrial statement, the father requested joint legal decision-making authority. Mother objected. After a three-day trial, the trial court judge concluded that the father did not molest the parties’ daughter. The mother saw a “hickey” on their daughter’s neck.
Judges Evaluate the Credibility of the Accuser and Witnesses When Child Abuse Allegations are Made
When the child was asked what happened, she responded that her father had kissed her neck and the mother jumped to the conclusion the father had molested their daughter. From this point forward, the mother interpreted everything the child said as indicative of sexual behavior or a sign she had been molested. The family court judge found that the mother’s responses to the child held to shape the child’s statements.
Over time, the mother’s behavior also shaped the “child’s interpretation of events” as well as her “emotional responses” to them. The family court judge also found portions of the mother’s testimony regarding the father to be false. The record of the trial made it apparent to the trial court judge that the mother lacked “objectivity and perspective.”
The family court judge denied the mother’s request for a modified order discontinuing the father’s parenting time. The trial court also found that the substantial change of circumstances presented by the case justified changing the mother’s sole legal decision making to joint legal decision making authority. The family court judge also found that in her misguided efforts to protect the daughter from the father, the father/daughter relationship had been damaged and was now at risk.
The Court’s Ruling on False Allegations of Child Abuse in a Child Custody Case
The court concluded the mother’s insistence that she retain sole legal decision that the father’s parenting time should be discontinued stemmed from an unhealthy mistrust of the father, which was not in the child’s best interests.
The family court judge also noted in its findings that the mother had overstated evidence in support of her allegations. In some instances, even presenting testimony that was not truthful. It appeared to the Court that the mother convinced herself that the father was a danger to the child and, as a result, adopted an “end justifies the means” approach to the case and accompanying proceedings.
The mother argued that the trial court erred by ordering a modification because the father did not ask the trial court to modify the prior legal decision-making orders and she, therefore, did not have fair notice that the issue would be addressed.
The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the Joint Pretrial Statement filed by both parties one week before the first day of trial and five weeks before the final day of trial to be an “amending [of] the pleading.” The mother’s objection to the statement serves as evidence that she was duly notified. Additionally, objections regarding procedure must be filed prior to the completion of the case.
The mother also argued on appeal that the trial court erred in its finding of the existence of a changed circumstance since the prior child custody orders were entered, its ruling permitting the father to provide an alternative explanation for the mark on the child’s neck, the trial court’s finding that the father’s alternative explanation was “more consistent with evidence” than the alleged sexual molestation, and the trial court’s dependence on testimony occurring prior to the hearing.
The mother did not provide transcripts of the trial supporting her arguments to the Court of Appeals, nor did she provide any continued development of the arguments for the Court of Appeals of Arizona to consider. The burden of providing all necessary documentation regarding the case and in support of her arguments on appeal was the mother’s responsibility.
Absent such record being transmitted to the Court of Appeals, the Arizona Court of Appeals must assume that the exhibits and trial transcripts would support the trial court’s findings. In addition, based on the limited evidence that was presented on appeal, the mother’s arguments fail. The Arizona Court of Appeals finds no error or abuse of discretion in the case of Flynn v. Brown and affirmed the trial court’s ruling.
What We Learned from this Article About False Allegations of Child Abuse in an Arizona Child Custody Case
Arizona child custody laws are designed to protect children from abuse. To do so, Arizona laws allow a court to issue emergency child custody orders to either terminate a parent’s visitation with his or her children or to order that parenting time to be supervised.
When faced with an Emergency Petition to Modify Parenting time based upon accusation a child is being abused by a parent, a judge is required to assume the facts alleged in that petition are truthful solely for the purpose of granting or denying the request for an emergency order.
However, once the case is presented to the court at the trial, however, the judge cannot assume any of the child abuse allegations are true. Instead, the judge is required to evaluate the credibility of witnesses, including the accuser, to determine if the allegations of abuse are true or untrue.
If the court determines a parent has raised a false allegation of child abuse after hearing all of the evidence in the case, the court has the authority in Arizona to change the existing child custody and parenting time orders based upon those false allegations of child abuse in an Arizona child custody case.
Contact Our Attorneys Who Fight False Allegations of Child Abuse in Arizona Child Custody Cases
If you need information about false allegations about child abuse in an Arizona child custody case, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona child custody attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in child custody cases in Arizona.
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 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
- 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
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PRESUMPTION IN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- 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