Jurisdiction for Dependency Petitions in Arizona
Under the Uniform Child Custody Act, a child’s domicile is usually that of his parents. Residence at the beginning of a case determines the court’s jurisdiction. That is, if parents and a child live in Arizona at the start of a case, Arizona has jurisdiction. What happens if parents live in Arizona when they file a dependency case, but they then move away? In David S. v. Audilio S., 32 P.3d 417 (2001), the Arizona Court of Appeals discussed this issue.
Facts of the Case
In 1999, Mr. Serrano and Mrs. Serrano brought a dependency petition. They charged that their son A. Serrano was dependent as to them. The teenager was living at a residential treatment facility in Cochise County, Arizona. The parents claimed that A. Serrano fought with Mrs. Serrano and had attacked her. They said they were unable to care for him because of his violence. They asked the court to award legal custody of him to the Arizona Department of Economic Security (ADES).
At an initial dependency hearing in February 2000, the court noted that the parents had since moved to Louisiana. Although the court denied ADES’s motion to dismiss, it changed venue to the county where A. Serrano was residing.
In June 2000, the Cochise County court held a hearing. Mr. Serrano and Mrs. Serrano argued that the court should hear the dependency proceeding. The court wasn’t confident about the status of the case or whether ADES was involved in this matter. It declined to order services for A. Serrano.
In August, the court held another review hearing. A. Serrano’s counsel asked the court to dismiss the dependency petition for lack of jurisdiction. The court ruled that A. Serrano was not domiciled in Arizona. It found he was domiciled in Louisiana since the parents had moved there. It concluded that A. Serrano’s home was that of his parents and granted the motion to dismiss. Mr. Serrano and Mrs. Serrano appealed.
Domicile Is Determined At the Beginning of the Action
Mr. Serrano and Mrs. Serrano argue that the court should not have dismissed the dependency petition. They claim that the tribunal had jurisdiction when the petition was filed. At that time, both they and their son were living in Arizona. The court, they claim, was obligated to retain jurisdiction.
Also, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, a state has jurisdiction over a child domiciled in the state at the start of the action. Under Arizona law, whether a court has jurisdiction is determined as of the commencement of the proceeding.
Here, when the petition was filed, the parents and their son were domiciled in Arizona. Mr. Serrano and Mrs. Serrano moved to Louisiana, but that did not deprive the juvenile court of jurisdiction since A. Serrano remains in Arizona.
A. Serrano argues that a child’s domicile for purposes of determining the venue is the residence of the parents. But, a child who is present in Arizona and was domiciled here when a dependency petition was filed, may still be the subject of a dependency proceeding in this state.
The juvenile court never conducted a dependency hearing. It found it lacked jurisdiction to do so. Most of A. Serrano’s arguments go to the merits of the petition and are thus premature.
The Court of Appeals concluded that the court erred in granting A. Serrano’s motion to dismiss the dependency petition for lack of jurisdiction. It reversed the juvenile court’s order and remanded for further proceedings.
More Articles About Child Custody in Arizona
- Access to a Child’s Medical Records in Arizona
- Adoption Attorneys in Arizona
- Required Affidavit in a Child Custody Case in Arizona
- Are Mothers Favored Custody Battles in Arizona
- Arizona Child Custody Attorneys
- Arizona Child Custody Statutes
- Arizona Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Statutes
- Changing a Child’s Last Name in Arizona
- Changing Child Custody in Arizona
- Child Custody and Child Support in Arizona
- Child Custody In Arizona
- Child Custody Laws in Arizona
- Child Custody Rights in Arizona
- Co-Parenting After Divorce in Arizona
- Custody of a Child to Grandparent in Arizona
- Delegation of Custody Decisions in Arizona
- Divorce and Grandparents Visitation in Arizona
- Effective Co-Parenting in Arizona
- Emergency Child Custody in Arizona
- Emergency Child Custody Orders in Arizona
- Enforce Parenting Time or Custody in Arizona
- Enforce Visitation Non-Custodial Parent in Arizona
- Grandparent’s Rights in Arizona
- How is Child Custody Determined in Arizona
- How to Change a Child’s Last Name in Arizona
- How to Enforce Parenting Time in Arizona
- How to Get Sole Custody in Arizona
- How to Modify Child Custody in Arizona
- How to Modify Visitation in Arizona
- Joint Custody and School Decisions in Arizona
- Joint Custody vs Sole Custody Arizona
- Joint Legal Custody or Joint Decision Making in Arizona
- Modifying Visitation With a Child in Arizona
- Moving Children Many Times in Arizona
- Order of Protection and Child Custody in Arizona
- Parent Information Program Class in Arizona
- Parent Move Out of State With A Child From Arizona
- Parental Alienation in Arizona
- Prepare for Child Custody Evaluation in Arizona
- Presumption of Equal Parenting Time in Arizona
- Restrictions in Arizona on Taking Children to Another Country
- Sole Legal Custody or Sole Decision Making in Arizona
- Sole or Joint Custody in Arizona
- Temporary Child Custody in Arizona
- Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act in Arizona
- What Are the Child Custody Factors in Arizona
- What Determines Child Custody in Arizona
- What is a Child Custody Evaluation in Arizona
- What is a Parenting Coordinator in an Arizona Child Custody Case
- What Is Domestic Violence in Arizona
- What Types of Child Custody Are There in Arizona
- What Visitation or Parenting Time Schedules do Judges Order in Arizona
- Who Has Custody of Children When a Divorce is Filed in Arizona
- Who Is the Best Child Custody Lawyer in Arizona
- Withholding Child From Custodial Parent in Arizona
Chris Hildebrand wrote the information on this page about filing a dependency case in Arizona then deciding to relocate to another state to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and 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, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.