BEST INTEREST ATTORNEY SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA

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RULE 10. REPRESENTATION OF CHILDREN

17B A.R.S. Rules Fam. Law Proc., Rule 10 – Former Rule 10, relating to the representation of children, minors and incompetent persons, was abrogated Aug. 30, 2018, effective Jan. 1, 2019. See, now, this rule and AZ ST RFLP Rule 10.1.

(A) Appointment of a Best Interests Attorney or Child’s Attorney. One or more of the following may be appointed by the court on behalf of a minor child:

  • A child’s attorney; or
  • A best interests attorney

(B) Grounds. An attorney may be appointed by the court for any reason the court deems appropriate to represent a child in a family law case under A.R.S. § 25-321 for any reason the court deems appropriate.

(C) Qualifications. As determined by the court, the attorney the court appoints as the best interests attorney or the child’s attorney must be qualified through experience or training in the type of proceeding in which the appointment is made. The attorney must have knowledge of the American Bar Association Standards of Practice for Lawyers Representing Children in Custody Cases.

(D) Appointment Order. The order to appoint an attorney must include the following:

  • A clear statement explaining the reasons for the appointment;
  • The length of the appointment;
  • The allocation of fees and expenses between the parties including the attorney’s compensation.
  • Language that authorizes the attorney to have immediate access to the child;
  • Language that authorizes the attorney to have immediate access to any child related confidential or privileged records and information;
  • Language allowing an appointed attorney access to any of the child’s records.

(E) Participation. An attorney appointed under this rule:

  • Must participate to the same extent in the proceeding as an attorney for any party;
  • May not engage in, except as authorized by law, ex parte contact with the court.
  • May not be compelled during the appointment to produce the attorney’s developed work product;
  • May not be required as a result of the appointment to disclose the source of information obtained;
  • May not be able submit a report into evidence; and
  • May not be able testify in court.

(F) Appointments from Juvenile Dependency Rosters. The court may not appoint a child’s attorney or best interests attorney from a county or state-funded juvenile dependency roster unless the court finds that a child may be the victim of neglect or child abuse as defined in A.R.S. § 8-201.

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WHAT ARE BEST INTERESTS OF A CHILD IN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASES?

These are some of the factors the court may consider in the best interests of a child or children.

  • Parental history of crime, inflicting domestic violence or substance addiction as well as a history (if applicable) of making false accusations.
  • The parents agreeing to support the parenting of the other party to avoid as much conflict as possible.
  • The ability of a child or children to adapt to new circumstances.
  • The mental and physical health of all parties.
  • The sibling relationships the children have.
  • The desires of all parties including those of the child or children

WHEN ARE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD CONSIDERED IN ARIZONA CUSTODY DISPUTES?

Here are some items the court will consider:

  • The appropriation of parenting time.
  • Child custody modification requests.

Courts will usually uphold requests of parents when both parties can agree and the court deems it to be in the best interests of the child or children.

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