Modification of parenting time is the process to change an existing visitation order or parenting time decree regarding your child. In Arizona, you will need to request the court to grant this change, provided you satisfy certain qualifications. Here is an overview of this process in Arizona.
There are two main qualifications for changing your parenting time order in Arizona: you must sufficiently establish that there has been a “substantial and continuing change of circumstances” since the parenting time was decreed, and that your proposed modification is for the child’s best interests.
What Are The Requirements For Arizona Parenting Time Modification?
What constitutes a “substantial and continuing change”? There is no official definition for this, and the court has broad discretion when deciding whether a particular change in circumstance is “substantial and continuing.” Some situations that might meet this standard:
- One parent has moved, making the existing visitation order impractical.
- The custodial parent has remarried or started living with a new person.
- The child has to change schools because of an academic matter.
- There is a significant change in either parent’s job or income.
- The child has expressed their own preference. In Arizona, there is no minimum age at which a child may express their wishes. Their preference will weigh on the judge’s decision but will not be the sole basis.
- Either parent is accused of domestic violence or abuse.
Apart from having an adequate cause, you must also wait a year after the date of the original order before you can request to modify it. The only exception is if there is reason to believe that your child is exposed to serious danger to their physical, mental, emotional, or moral health. In addition, a parenting time modification can only be done if the child is under 18.
How To Modify Parenting Time Order In Arizona
To request a parenting time change, you need to file a “Petition for Modification of Parenting Time” with the court. Next, you must notify the other parent via a specific process called service (instructions here). You must give the court an official proof of service, then give the other parent 20 days to respond to your petition.
The court will schedule a quick hearing, and, if necessary, a longer evidentiary hearing. Arizona judges are also likely to require mediation between you and your ex-spouse to help resolve any disagreements on the requested parenting time change. After the mediation and the hearings, the judge will announce their decision within 60 days.
Of course, it’s rarely a straightforward procedure. Most judges don’t immediately welcome a modification to the court order, especially if there has been a similar petition in the past. In addition, parenting time modification is usually contested by the other parent. You will want to show that you have a truly good cause for modification – that is, the change in your circumstances is indeed significant enough to warrant the parenting time change.
To help ensure that your case is presented successfully in court, reach out to a competent lawyer from Goldman Law by calling (602) 698-5520. We are experienced in parenting time modifications, providing the effective legal guidance and representation you need.